The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin

Title: The Christmas Village
Author: Melissa Ann Goodwin
Target Ages: 8+
Formats: Paperback; eBook

About the Book:
(from the author)

When Jamie Reynolds visits his grandparents’ Vermont home for Christmas, he just wishes things would go back to the way they were before his dad disappeared. Time and again he is drawn to the miniature Christmas village that Grandma has set out to cheer him up. He imagines that it’s a perfect place where life is simple and nothing bad ever happens. Jamie makes a wish to live there, and late one night, his wish magically comes true.

The village turns out to be Canterbury, Vermont, where the year is 1932. He becomes fast friends with Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, and is taken in by the kindly Ida, who runs the local boarding house. But he also makes a dangerous enemy of the mysterious and menacing Jim Gordon, whose return to town is nothing but trouble.

As Jamie desperately races the clock to find his way back home for Christmas, he is suddenly faced with a frightening choice: to go ahead with his plan to leave, or to stay and help his friends, at the risk of never going home again.


“For seventh-grader Jamie Reynolds, the world seems to have collapsed. Something his father had done appears to have turned residents in his town against his mother and him. What’s worse, his father had left suddenly and was nowhere to be found. In part to find some relief, Jamie and his mother travel to visit Jamie’s grandparents in the town of Bell’s Crossing, Vermont. But, as the story develops, we see Jamie take a trip quite a bit farther (in time if not in space) – as he is transported one night to a little town named Canterbury in the year 1932.

Melissa Ann Goodwin’s book, The Christmas Village, tells of Jamie’s adventures in Canterbury – some seven decades prior to his own time. It is in part a time-travel adventure, in part historic fiction, but mostly it is a wonderfully crafted story about how one faces adversity, about friendship and courage, the courage to help others at the expense of oneself, the courage to take responsibility for things gone wrong and perhaps also the courage to forgive.

The book’s plot is well crafted: there is suspense as Jamie is pitted against both time and actual villains in 1932 Canterbury, satisfying bits of foreshadowing and a resolution that ties up loose ends across space and time. The writing accentuates details and the characters are fun to get to know. For young (and older) readers looking for a fun, suspenseful book with that mix of adventure, humor and characters who face real-life issues, this book is it. In the end, as fun as it is to read, it is also a book with a lot of heart. This is the type of book that makes writers look a little like magicians and that inspires one to read and perhaps to learn the craft.” ~ Inkspokes

More Information:

Author’s Website

Other Books in the Series:
Return to Canterbury

Available for Purchase from:


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Return to Inskpokes Select Reading List


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