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Our Simple Gifts: Civil War Christmas Tales

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
A true holiday classic from acclaimed author Owen Parry, Our Simple Gifts is a heartwarming collection of four Christmas stories set during the Civil War. A writer whose work has been called, “gripping” (Washington Post), “top-notch” (Chicago Tribune), and “marvelous historical fiction” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Parry brings us a moving quartet of unforgettable tales that ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by William Morrow
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Dec 11, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, civil-war
Written in 2002, Owen Parry's Our Simple Gifts: Civil War Christmas Tales contains four stories from a war fought 150 years ago. A Union soldier, haunted by loss, struggles to return home through a Christmas Eve snowstorm; a Confederate soldier released from a brutal prison camp has a Christmas night reunion with his grandmother, the person he loves most; an immigrant soldier plans a Christmas surprise for his comrades; a freed slave struggles between feelings of revenge or compassion toward his ...more
Dec 09, 2011 Graceann rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful little book; four short stories set during Civil War Christmases. In the first and longest story, a Union officer is struggling just to get home to his family. In the second, a Union private has a secret. The penultimate story features a young Confederate getting advice from his grandmother on the subject of family harmony. And finally, a freed slave ponders the nature of forgiveness at Christmastime.

These are unapologetically spiritual stories, meant to uplift. Cynics and thos
Aug 23, 2013 Jack rated it it was amazing
The word wonderful springs to mind when trying to describe the stories in this little book.
Ralph Peters, writing as Owen Parry, takes us back in time - 150 years - Christmas during the American Civil War.
For me its as if I was standing to one side and actually watching the events unfold.The sounds, the smells, the colors - Peters seems to have this knack of capturing it all for the reader.
Nov 29, 2007 Daniel rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-fiction
I am always on the look-out for short Christmas-related stories, and I liked the idea of these being set in the Civil War time, but only the first story struck a chord with me, and even at that, it was quite predictable.

Not a collection to recommend.
Dec 23, 2015 Jessaka rated it really liked it
I have never read anything by Owen Parry before, but this book was recommended to me by one of the Goodread's reviewers. I found Parry's prose to be lyrical, very beautiful. And the stories are well thought out, historical, and heartwarming.

This book reminds me of a book that I read back in the 1960s that was about a family who kept a light in the window for the return of their son. At least that is how I remember it. It could have been a Christmas war story, but all I remember is the lights, wh
Dec 15, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it
So this was my lucky year - - -two great Christmas stories in a row (the other was The Christmas Train)! "Our Simple Gifts" is a series of small vignettes - - much like O. Henry stories - - that recount fictional tales of Christmas during the Civil War years. The stories cover a variety of characters, from a wealthy Yankee officer returning home in despair to an ex-slave who extends a kindness even though he knows it will be rebuffed. The stories are poignant, sweet, and full of the Christmas Sp ...more
Dec 19, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas-books
Four very different short stories, all set in the Civil War era, make the reader think about the true meaning of Christmas. I liked "Tannenbaum" best, followed by "Christmas Gift." I remember thinking "Lo, How a Rose 'Ere Blooming" was a dumb song when I was in my high school glee club. It seemed amelodic to me. After reading "Tannenbaum" and finding a video of The King's Singers performing "Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen", I have a much greater appreciation of that song.

I would definitely recomme
Jan 21, 2011 Rick rated it it was amazing
I am a Parry fan and this certainly deepened my appreciation for his craftsmanship. The final story is the weaker of the four, perhaps only in relative terms, but the strength of the prior three more than carries this short book and hence earns from me 5 stars. Inspired writing and inspirational stories of the Civil War that emphasize the humanity. Parry creates a setting that I can picture and with people who seem real enough to care about. A perfectly timed read right before Christmas helped p ...more
Jacquelynn Fritz
Dec 15, 2012 Jacquelynn Fritz rated it liked it
This book is four short stories about four men during the Civil War. They each in their own way bring the true meaning of Christmas to those around them. The stories are good, but I was left wanting a whole book about each man and what happened to him after Christmas.
Dec 24, 2012 Boyd rated it really liked it
A fitting read for the holidays. These stories teach us about charity, fellowship, the love of family, and forgiveness; during a time in the history of the United States, which is still felt to this day.
Nov 08, 2011 Sherri rated it really liked it
Short stories that pack a punch. Four different character stories in which you could tell how the Civil War affected them and humanity as they return to their homes or trying to celebrate Christmas, all while being reminded or remembering the real Reason for the Season.
Mar 29, 2016 Christi rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldnt-finish
just didn't hold my attention
Jun 23, 2008 Veronica rated it it was ok
I found the book simplistic,inspiring as a children's story, but not thought-provoking.
P.W. Singer
Apr 22, 2013 P.W. Singer rated it it was amazing
Enojyed it much. Room even "got a bit dusty" during one of the sadder stories.
Dec 24, 2012 Doug rated it liked it
Lovely little short stories about Christmas, but taking place during the Civil War.
Mar 01, 2013 Greg rated it liked it
Set of Christmas stories set in the American Civil War. I prefer the Abel Jones stories.
May 07, 2009 Hal rated it really liked it
too bad the series dried up
Apr 27, 2010 Hapzydeco rated it really liked it
A storyteller collection of tales celebrating the enduring spirit of Christmas.
Josie Barlow
Josie Barlow rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2010
Kim rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2009
Britta Schatz
Britta Schatz rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2011
Gail rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2012
Robyn Ethell
Robyn Ethell rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2012
Janet rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2011
Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Apr 25, 2012
Vivian rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2017
Jon Simrak
Jon Simrak rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2015
Dennis rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2013
Erik rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2012
Dec 29, 2011 Valli rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading these moving Christmas stories from the Civil War time period.
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