My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour for Nici’s Christmas Tale by Jean Gill. I haven’t been accepting blog tour request for a while but I couldn’t resist this one!
Published by The 13th Sign on 30th November Nici’s Christmas Tale is available for purchase here.
Nici’s Christmas Tale
A stand-alone short story in the multi-award-winning Troubadours Quartet series
1157: Aquitaine. The wolves are coming!
At midnight on Christmas Eve, while the blizzard blasts snow through every crack in the castle walls, Nici the Shepherd’s Dog stands guard in the sheepfold.
Beside him as usual are his pack and the flock they protect but this night is not usual at all. A small boy braves the snowy night, seeking the protection of his great friend while he is banned from his parents’ quarters in the castle.
Nici recalls other times and other dangers, his trials and failures, the reasons why he ran away with a young girl, now the little boy’s mother. He would still give his life in a heartbeat for Lady Estela. And yet, on this snowy night, he cannot help her. So, while he waits and comforts Estela’s son, he tells his own puppies the story of a dog’s life.
My Review of Nici’s Christmas Tale
On a cold wintry evening the puppies want a story from Nici.
I’m astounded by Nici’s Christmas Tale because although it is a short story, it packs an enormous punch and contains everything a full sized epic novel might contain. Jean Gill is an incredibly skilled writer and I’m only sorry I haven’t encountered her work before.
Nici’s Christmas Tale is resonant of the great traditions of storytelling and I found myself likening Nici to the troubadours of old. There’s peril, affection, loyalty, love, crime and evil woven into a narrative that I found entrancing. I devoured this narrative in a single sitting, not because it is a short story, but because I was captivated.
Nici is such a clear character. His voice reverberated in my head until I was sitting in the straw listening just as much as the others. I felt so sad for him on several occasions and so proud of him on others and had to remind myself I was reading a story about a sheepdog and not a person I knew! I think the accuracy of the historical detail contributed to me feeling this way too, especially in those moments when Nici describes being in the great hall.
As well as being thoroughly entertained and transported back in time by Nici’s Christmas Tale I also loved the allegorical theme of shepherding. There’s so much to ponder about how we treat others and wish to be treated.
Nici’s Christmas Tale is a smashing tale to be enchanted by on a cold winter’s afternoon. I thought it was excellent.
About Jean Gill
Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour’, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.
Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.
You can sign up to Jean special readers’ group here for exclusive news, offers and a free book and follow Jean on Twitter @writerjeangill.
There’s more with these other bloggers too: