REVIEW: Christmas at the Little Village School by Jane Lovering
A teacher’s life is never easy … especially at Christmas!
Working at a tiny village school in rural Yorkshire has its own unique set of challenges – but when teachers Lydia Knight and Jake Immingham are tasked with getting the children to put on a Christmas play for the local elderly people’s home, they know they’re in for a tricky term!
But in between choreographing sugar plum dance routines, reindeer costume malfunctions and trying to contain Rory Scott’s wannabe rap star aspirations, Lydia realises that, even as a teacher, she isn’t past being taught a couple of things – and one of those things is a much-needed lesson in Christmas spirit.
Dear Ms. Lovering,
Now that it’s getting closer to Christmas, I’m really getting in the mood for holiday stories. Your novella from last year takes me to Yorkshire where the daylight it short, there might actually be a white Christmas and teachers Lydia and Jake have been tasked with putting on a Christmas play. Oh joy.
Heavington is a small Yorkshire village with an even smaller school. In fact, if they didn’t have students from a larger town attending in order to have a more “boutique” experience and smaller class sizes, they’d run the risk of being shut down. Three teachers, the headmaster and an aid comprise the staff but it’s clear that they all love what they’re doing.
It’s Jake who has the brainstorm that leads to their choice of story for the play and all hands muster to assign parts, fit costumes and help with the run through. Hmmm, it might need a little more polishing but they’ve got a start. Then comes the village crafts fare wherein Lydia and Jake help buy up the students’ plaster and glitter creations that parents and grands don’t snatch up.
But despite their students noticing that Jake seems to like Lydia (or “Miss” as they call her), she remains cool – for a good reason, she thinks. There are hints of “something” in Lydia’s life that has changed her and makes her think that relationships aren’t for her. It will take a mystery man’s interest in Lydia to give them the final push through to an understanding.
The romance progresses in fits and starts. I could see the attraction between Lydia and Jake and was sure of his feelings. The catalyst that precipitated the change in their relationship added a slightly creepy element (#MeToo TRIGGER WARNING) to the story that was then suddenly dropped after serving its purpose. But the delightful children – and I’m not usually a fan of moppets in stories – and the lovely descriptions of this tiny Yorkshire village are wonderful and I can understand why Lydia acts as she does as well as feel her pain at being alone.
I adored the scenes in the school and the 34 students who keep Lydia, Jake and Irina on their toes. The rehearsal is a hoot but the final performance of the school play is delightful. I foresee a happy comingling of the young students and the senior citizens at the local retirement home – and perhaps some additional skills to pitch in with the reindeer antlers in the future. B