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Nov 09

The Sleighmaker: A Christmas Story That’s Never Been Told By Ian Shepherd

A novel that could well become a seasonal classic, this traditional Christmas tale is sure to win the hearts of children and adults alike.

Set just before the turn of the 20th century, The Sleighmaker is an unapologetic homage to the traditional children’s stories of the Victorian era, and is a richly rewarding tale of the importance of companionship and hope overcoming loss.

It is the debut of author Ian Shepherd, but you wouldn’t think it is his first book with the mastery of description, characterisation, plot and pacing that make it such a pleasure to read.

It’s aimed predominantly at children aged seven and up and, while it might be a little challenging for seven-year-olds to read by themselves, grown-ups are sure to enjoy reading along.

The story’s central character is Drummond, a master craftsman and gentle giant once known far and wide as the most talented sleighmaker around.

However, after a personal tragedy he shuns his trade and the company of the others.

Eventually, he is persuaded to work on the estate of Lord and Lady Harrington and is enjoying the solitude of his new work until a cheerful little boy named William appears.

William possesses unusual calming abilities with both people and animals alike and demonstrated his gift by preventing a nasty accident involving Henry, the Harrington’s young son, and his father’s horse, Jonty, after it becomes spooked by a wild boar during a ride.

Taken into the household, William becomes an apprentice to Drummond. At first, the craftsman wonders how he can be of any use, but quickly falls for William’s innocent charm and finds himself opening up emotionally for the first time since the tragedy.

One room in Drummond’s workshop had always been out of bounds, but William finds a way in and discovers a broken sleigh. With the emotional support and encouragement of his apprentice and a young kitchen maid called Marny, he is persuaded to restore the wrecked sleigh back to its original splendour.

Along with William, he calls on his old friend, the French artist Auguste, and together they create a magnificent sleigh for the winter parade.

Towards the close of the book there is a special twist that I don’t want to spoil, but it’s OK to say that the sleigh goes on a festive ride like no other and Drummond is finally able to move on and look to the future once more.

Author Ian Shepherd comes from a large family where Christmas has always been an extra-special occasion. In The Sleighmaker, he has succeeded admirably in crafting a timeless tale celebrating the true spirit of the season.

It might not have the whistles and bells of modern Christmas gifts, but that’s really the point. It’s a perfectly-wrapped present in itself, aimed at taking kids away from electronic screens if only for a little while.

With its snowy setting and rich descriptions, characters you care for and fair share of mysteries to uncover, this novel will appeal to children and parents who yearn for a simple, magical story packed with more yuletide spirit than a Christmas pud.

The Sleighmaker by Ian Shepherd is out now through Raj Joshi Publishing and priced £11.99 in hardback, £6.99 paperback and £4.60 as a Kindle eBook. It is available on Amazon UK

The Sleighmaker by Ian Shepherd is available here

 

Win a copy of The Sleighmaker by Ian Shepherd

We have three paperback copies of The Sleighmaker by Ian Shepherd, usually priced £6.99,to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just email frostmagazine@gmail.com with your name and address.

The three lucky winners will be notified by 1st of December and will receive their prizes shortly
thereafter.