Merry Happy Valkyrie
As I have two Christmas-related books in this issue already, I figured that I could go the whole hog and add a third. This isn’t a new book. It is two years old, and my apologies to Tansy Rayner Roberts for taking so long to get round to it. My excuse is that you can only read it at Christmas.
As most of you will know. Tansy Rayner Roberts is Australian. But she does live in Hobart, the most southerly city in the country. Tasmanian weather is a law unto itself, and that provided the inspiration for this book.
Christmas in Australia is a strange event. One the one hand you have Santa and his reindeer in shop windows, and Northern Hemisphere Christmas movies on TV. There is fake snow everywhere. But outside it is blisteringly hot and everyone in their right minds is off down the beach with a slab of tinnies.
Except, dear reader, for the small, isolated town of Matilda in the mountains of central Tasmania. Here, regular as clockwork, it snows every Christmas. As Tasmanian weather goes, this is actually weird. No one quite understands it.
Lief Fraser is the weather anchor for Hobart Mornings, the local breakfast TV show. She has tried to keep the fact that she’s from Matilda secret, but now her bosses have found out and they are determined to have her broadcast from the snowbound town on Christmas morning. So Lief has set off for home, accompanied only by her trusty car, War Horse, and her camera girl. Piper is the sort of young woman who bounces everywhere, dresses in candy pink, and says O.M.G. out loud, but that OK because it means Lief can handle her. She’d better, because protecting the town of Matilda is literally her job.
Unfortunately, when Lief and Piper arrive, they find another film crew rolling into town. Audrey Astor has made a successful business out of Australian Christmas movies. Whereas Hallmark produces cheesy tales of snowbound American small towns, Merry Happy, Audrey’s company, does Christmas on the Beach stories. Audrey has long been obsessed with Matilda, and she’s finally got permission to film there.
Of course there is a reason why it always snows in Matilda at Christmas, and it has nothing to do with Tasmanian weather. Lief has to make sure that Audrey never finds out the truth, because if she does then the nosey movie producer and her crew could end up very dead.
With a title like Merry Happy Valkyrie, you could be forgiven for assuming that this book contains a lot of Norse mythology. You would be sort of right. But the Norse mythology here has moved a long way from the original. There are Valkyries, yes, but much is different. Not so different, however, that I didn’t recognise the saga of Thrym’s Wedding underlying the whole thing, which makes me very happy.
The book is marketed as a romance, so you should have a good idea of what to expect. Indeed, if you are unsure, Audrey kindly explains the principle for you:
“A good romance is about figuring out exactly what the audience wants, and feeding it to them by the tasty, tasty spoonful.”
So yeah, there will be a happy ending, as there should be. It is how you get there that is important, and this is certainly a different and interesting way of doing that.
Oh, and there is good trans representation too. All in all, a fine little book.
Title: Merry Happy Valkyrie
By: Tansy Rayner Roberts
Publisher: Twelfth Planet Press
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