The Legend of Holly Claus

The Legend of Holly Claus

4.7 34
by Brittney Ryan, Laurel Long
     
 

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Santa Claus’s daughter sets out to break a curse and free a magical kingdom
Though few mortals know his secret, Nicholas is more than a jolly red-suited man who visits children all over the world on Christmas Eve—he is also the king of Forever, Land of the Immortals. Each year he gets letters from millions of boys and girls, and helps make their…  See more details below

Overview

Santa Claus’s daughter sets out to break a curse and free a magical kingdom
Though few mortals know his secret, Nicholas is more than a jolly red-suited man who visits children all over the world on Christmas Eve—he is also the king of Forever, Land of the Immortals. Each year he gets letters from millions of boys and girls, and helps make their Christmas wishes come true. But one year, a special little boy from New York City asks something Nicholas has never been asked before: “What do you wish for Christmas, Santa?” With that simple question, a magical story unfolds. Nicholas answers that his only wish is for a child. And soon the immortal people of the kingdom celebrate the arrival of Holly Claus, the princess of Forever and the first child to grace its ground. But their happiness is dashed when an evil sorcerer places a spell on the infant, turning her heart to ice and freezing her kingdom in time. Many years later, just in time for Christmas Eve, Holly travels to New York, intent upon saving Christmas and freeing the land of Forever. Holly will make this the most magical—and memorable—Christmas the world has ever seen. This ebook features a note from Brittney Ryan including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In florid prose, first-time author Ryan expands the Santa Claus mythos with this meandering novel. In 1878 New York City, 10-year-old Christopher writes a letter asking Santa what he wants for Christmas-something no one has ever done before. Saint Nick realizes that he, the King of "Forever, the Land of the Immortals," wants a child of his own, and soon Holly Claus is born. Ryan borrows from Christian allegory and fairytale. The evil warlock Herrikhan, for instance, is "condemned to Odyl, the fortress that sweats beneath the earth in its bed of molten fire." The only way to break his curse is to "possess the purest and most compassionate heart ever born." That heart, of course, belongs to Holly. Herrikhan turns the baby's heart to ice, necessitating that she be kept cold or die. The book's first half follows Holly growing up in her "frozen wonderland" within the Land of the Immortals, and her relationship with Tundra, a noble wolf. In the second half, Holly and Tundra and a team of reindeer set off for New York City, shortly before Christmas; it is now 1896 and Herrikhan awaits. Holly eventually meets (and falls in love with) Christopher, now a man-but he no longer believes. Gaps in logic may trouble fantasy fans (e.g., why does Tundra's partner lose her immortality just because she fell outside Forever, even though St. Nick comes and goes without losing his?) and readers may feel gypped by the quick showdown between Holly and Herrikhan after the book-long buildup. But those searching for a lush and leisurely Yuletide read may not mind the flaws. Long's intricate pen-and-inks add to the gifty package. Ages 9-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The gates of Forever, the Land of the Immortals, have been locked since the birth of Holly, daughter of Nicholas Claus and his wife Vivianna. At her christening, as gifts were bestowed upon the baby Holly, the evil wizard Herrikhan invoked a spell that froze Holly's heart and closed the gates of Forever prohibiting entry or exit. As the young girl grew she lamented her life in a frozen world and longed to break the spell that held her captive and barred souls from reaching the land of happiness. Now a grown young woman of unparalleled grace and beauty, Holly disobeys her father and escapes to Victorian New York City a few days before Christmas. There she hopes to confront the evil Herrikhan and break the spell in time for her father's Christmas Eve arrival. This first novel can't seem to define what it is. There are elements of fairy tale, legend, history, the Bible, and Harry Potter all blended into one very long story of epic proportions without the writing to match. Tighter editing could have shortened the novel by a third and left a story that doesn't wander aimlessly at times. The are wonderful moments of magic and mystery that show promise from this new author, but the story she has presented to us is saccharine and overly written. This Julie Andrew imprint has been published with a heaping spoonful of sugar. The black and white sketches perfectly portray the fairy tale magic that the writer so desperately seeks. 2004, Julie Andrews Collection/HarperCollins, Ages 10 to 12.
—Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A letter written in 1878 to Santa Claus by a 10-year-old boy asking not for presents but to know what Santa himself wishes for allows the gent (aka Nicholas, King of Forever) and his wife to realize their greatest dream, the birth of a daughter named Holly. She is, however, cursed by an evil sorcerer, Herrikhan, who surrounds her infant heart with ice and promises to return to collect it one day. Holly grows up happy but lonely in the Land of the Immortals, and when she becomes a young woman, she takes a daring and possibly deadly trip to Victorian New York City, where she is determined to do good deeds. There she has adventures, brings joy to the hearts of young and old, and manages to foil Herrikhan with the shining purity of her love. The writing is acceptable, if a little precious, and the descriptions of Nicholas and his household are a pleasure to read, but the whole Herrikhan plot is jarring, inconsistent, and unnecessary; there are more than enough characters and subplots swirling through this novel already without the addition of a leering, black-tongued sorcerer. The drawings scattered throughout are detailed and a touch old-fashioned, a good match for the sentimental tone of the text. Fans of Alcott, Spyri, and Burnett may enjoy this long and convoluted tale.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a letter-writing twist, a boy asks Santa what he wants for Christmas. Holly is born, and her fate seems sealed when the warlock Herrikhan curses the baby with a cold heart, which he hopes to claim when she matures. Cursed himself, Herrikhan must possess the purest heart to obtain his freedom. Holly's curse affects everyone in Forever, Land of the Immortals, as she must live in cold conditions to keep her heart alive and no new souls may enter Forever. The only immortal who hasn't proven herself worthy of the honor, Holly finds a way to reach Victorian Empire City (a.k.a. New York), where she brings magic to children, finds true love, and crushes Herrikhan's curse. This story strives to be an original fairy tale, but fails with trite narration and melodramatic dialogue. Grotesque violence abruptly jars the saccharine tone at times. Ryan even changes traditional toy-making elves into cranky goblins who dress up as elves for reporters. The only noteworthy features are Long's exquisite, detailed illustrations. (Fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781453288733
Publisher:
Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Publication date:
10/30/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
534
Sales rank:
99,951
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Legend of Holly Claus

Prologue

New York City, 1878

It had once been a grand house, but not now. The ballroom, where ladies in pink and blue satin dresses had whirled on the arms of mustachioed gentlemen, was gone, and in its place there were three apartments. The rooms had been divided, and then divided again, until the whole of that grand house was filled with tiny slots overflowing with children who didn't quite get enough to eat, mothers who scrimped and made do, and fathers who left before dawn and came back long after dark.

Ten-year-old Christopher, alone in a sliver of an apartment near the top of the house, was wholly absorbed in the smooth wood in his hands, his eyes fixed on the creature he saw trapped inside the block. Steadily, precisely, he carved it out. Outside, the afternoon grew darker, and the icy rain began to fall. Inside, the sound of wailing babies and the sour smell of thin soup wafted through the flimsy walls. Absorbed in the magic of making, Christopher noticed none of it. He began to see pointed wings and ridiculous, triangular feet. A curving pull of the blade revealed a long, narrow beak. Sitting back in his chair, Christopher looked at his creation and laughed. It was the most peculiar bird he had ever seen.

Just then the sitting room door opened, and Christopher's mother stepped in quietly. Her shoulders hunched against the cold, but her face held the remnants of great beauty, chiefly in her enormous gray eyes. Now, unwinding the shawls that served her as a coat, she glanced at her son's intent face and, as if to ward away danger, she rested her hand upon his head for a moment. Then she rustled away to make supper in the dim corner they called the kitchen. She caught sight of a laboriously written letter and envelope lying near the chair and smiled at Christopher's familiar, awkward handwriting. Stooping to pick up the letter, she began to read.

Christopher's eyes were on his bird as he spoke."Mother? What do you suppose I saw today over at Stuyves—" He broke off when he saw the tears glistening on her face. "What's happened?" he asked anxiously."What is it?"

His mother shook her head. "Your letter, love. It's your letter that makes me cry, but they aren't sad tears."Her son looked at her doubtfully.

"The letter? But didn't you tell me that all children write a letter to Santa Claus at Christmas time?" asked Christopher. "Why would it make you cry?"

His mother dropped to her knees and looked searchingly in his eyes. "Tell me what you see in this room," she said.

Christopher looked around the sitting room. "A wooden table. Your chair. A lamp, with a beautiful glass.My books. Lots of books." He smiled. "You." He leaned into his mother's arms.

"And it's enough, darling?" asked his mother in a whisper.

Christopher looked at her questioningly. "Enough? I don't understand," he answered slowly. "This is home.This is where you are. It's more than just enough."

Without replying, his mother tightened her arms around him and held him for a long time. Then she rose to her feet, folding the letter carefully into its envelope and slipping it into his pocket. "Mrs. Broder at the bakeshop, my dear boy, has been kind enough to extend our account for another week," she said cheerfully."Will you take the carriage to get a loaf of bread, or shall I send the butler?"

Christopher frowned judiciously. "The horses are getting fat and lazy, Mother. But so is the butler. He's an awful lazy fellow. So I suppose I had better go myself."

"And where's your scarf, then?" his mother said, catching him by the arm. "It's dreadfully cold." She could keep her voice cheerful, but her eyes betrayed her. Christopher wound the woolen muffler around his neck. "I'll be fine. It's a very warm scarf. I'll put it over my head if I get cold," he said, watching his mother's face. "I promise."

"Don't forget to post your letter," called his mother, as the door closed behind him.

He stood at the door, bracing himself for the cold. As he always did when he was trying to make himself feel brave, he reached into his coat pocket to touch his father's watch. It didn't matter that the watch hadn't worked in almost a year. It had stopped right after his father had died, and there was no money for repairs.His father could have done it; he had loved intricate mechanisms. Christopher stared into space, remembering

his father bent over a tiny, broken toy. Christopher wrapped his hand tightly around the watch; it was fine the way it was.

Oh, the cold. On the dark sidewalk, Christopher leaned into the wind, for he had learned that fearing the cold made it worse. You had to act as though you weren't cold. You had to step lively instead of huddling near the walls—Christopher stopped, ignoring his own rules.

He wasn't cold.

He looked around him; there were all the people pushing past him, freezing. But he wasn't. Christopher looked up toward the Bowery, where the gaslights were gleaming, and then down at the teeming darkness of Second Avenue. By rights, his feet should have been turning numb, but no. Luxuriating in his comfort, Christopher walked to the postal box and dropped his letter in. All grew still for a moment. Suddenly, a great, golden wave of warmth rolled through him, a velvety liquid warmth that coursed from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. It had no source and no end, and, standing there in the dark, slushy street, Christopher knew that something extraordinary had just happened to him.

The Legend of Holly Claus. Copyright © by Brittney Ryan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Brittney Ryan is an American author who was born in Portland, Oregon. She attended the University of Portland’s School of Dramatic Arts and Music. Since then, she has performed in musicals and has worked as a composer, producer, and television commentator. However, Ryan is best known as a storyteller and the New York Times bestselling author of The Legend of Holly Claus, a magical Christmas fantasy about the daughter of Nicholas Claus (known to many around the world as Santa Claus). Ryan got the idea for Holly Claus when she was just seventeen and performing in a Christmas musical in her hometown. A little girl climbed on to her lap and whispered a question into her ear: “Are you Santa’s daughter?” While creating her story, Ryan took inspiration from the literature she loved most as a child—classics such as A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Little Women, Treasure Island,and, most importantly, The Wizard of Oz.Ryan lives and works in California.

Brittney Ryan is an American author who was born in Portland, Oregon. She attended the University of Portland’s School of Dramatic Arts and Music. Since then, she has performed in musicals and has worked as a composer, producer, and television commentator. However, Ryan is best known as a storyteller and the author of The Legend of Holly Claus, a magical Christmas fantasy about the daughter of Nicholas Claus (known to many around the world as Santa Claus). A New York Times bestselling author, Ryan is now at work on the fourth novel in the Holly Claus collection. Ryan got the idea for Holly Claus when she was just seventeen and performing in a Christmas musical in her hometown. A little girl climbed on to her lap and whispered a question into her ear: “Are you Santa’s daughter?” While creating her story, Ryan took inspiration from the literature she loved most as a child—classics such as A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Little Women, Treasure Island,and, most importantly, The Wizard of Oz.Ryan lives and works in California. 

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