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Christmas Past: A Chronicles of St Mary's Short Story

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The First Farrell Family Christmas Max, Leon and Matthew - together at last for Christmas at St Mary's - a time of conspicuous consumption, riotous misbehaviour and the traditional illegal Christmas jump. And this time, it's inter-generational. Donning her unfamiliar mother hat, Max takes Matthew back to 19th century London, where they plan to deliver a parcel of Christm The First Farrell Family Christmas Max, Leon and Matthew - together at last for Christmas at St Mary's - a time of conspicuous consumption, riotous misbehaviour and the traditional illegal Christmas jump. And this time, it's inter-generational. Donning her unfamiliar mother hat, Max takes Matthew back to 19th century London, where they plan to deliver a parcel of Christmas cheer to his former friends, but find themselves confronting the terrifying Old Ma Scrope in the process. 'Tis the season to be jolly. It's also the season of goodwill towards all mankind. Pity no one told Max.


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The First Farrell Family Christmas Max, Leon and Matthew - together at last for Christmas at St Mary's - a time of conspicuous consumption, riotous misbehaviour and the traditional illegal Christmas jump. And this time, it's inter-generational. Donning her unfamiliar mother hat, Max takes Matthew back to 19th century London, where they plan to deliver a parcel of Christm The First Farrell Family Christmas Max, Leon and Matthew - together at last for Christmas at St Mary's - a time of conspicuous consumption, riotous misbehaviour and the traditional illegal Christmas jump. And this time, it's inter-generational. Donning her unfamiliar mother hat, Max takes Matthew back to 19th century London, where they plan to deliver a parcel of Christmas cheer to his former friends, but find themselves confronting the terrifying Old Ma Scrope in the process. 'Tis the season to be jolly. It's also the season of goodwill towards all mankind. Pity no one told Max.

30 review for Christmas Past: A Chronicles of St Mary's Short Story

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Short and delightful xmas story featuring our scariest mom yet. Max. Also, arguably the worst. Or best. Depends on your POV. :) She takes her child to disease-ridden London to give food and blankets to Matthew's old friends in the muck. Time-travel can be nice, sometimes, and no one got pissed on. This time. The best part is the yelling. Go Max! A very Scrooge-y story. :) And cute. Short and delightful xmas story featuring our scariest mom yet. Max. Also, arguably the worst. Or best. Depends on your POV. :) She takes her child to disease-ridden London to give food and blankets to Matthew's old friends in the muck. Time-travel can be nice, sometimes, and no one got pissed on. This time. The best part is the yelling. Go Max! A very Scrooge-y story. :) And cute.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    One Christmas tradition of late has been reading the annual St Mary's Christmas short story, and this years edition was really good. I loved the interactions between Max and Matthew, I found them really heartwarming and genuine. It's great to see Max develop as a character into more of a mother figure for Matthew, even if it covers a lot of heartache. More then previous years this also felt more like a 'traditional' Christmas tale. I did miss Peterson and Markham though, but I suppose they do ha One Christmas tradition of late has been reading the annual St Mary's Christmas short story, and this years edition was really good. I loved the interactions between Max and Matthew, I found them really heartwarming and genuine. It's great to see Max develop as a character into more of a mother figure for Matthew, even if it covers a lot of heartache. More then previous years this also felt more like a 'traditional' Christmas tale. I did miss Peterson and Markham though, but I suppose they do have to recover from those injuries at some point.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Another Christmas short story from our favourite disaster magnets. Yes, I'm at bit late since it's already January, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment in the slightest. Now, I will admit that I still haven't read novel #8 but the short stories are balm to my soul so I couldn't resist this one any more than the last. Leon and Matthew are living with the time police in Max's future. Leon for medical reasons after what happened to him in #8 (but he's about to return for good apparently) and Matth Another Christmas short story from our favourite disaster magnets. Yes, I'm at bit late since it's already January, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment in the slightest. Now, I will admit that I still haven't read novel #8 but the short stories are balm to my soul so I couldn't resist this one any more than the last. Leon and Matthew are living with the time police in Max's future. Leon for medical reasons after what happened to him in #8 (but he's about to return for good apparently) and Matthew out of his own free will because after what was done to him, he doesn't exactly have strong family ties. Which breaks Max's heart but she doesn't show it. So this Christmas, Leon and Matthew come to visit and of course it's all about yet another illegal time jump (it's a Christmas tradition after all) - only this time it's just Max and Matthew and for a very good reason. I will not go into details or tell you if, or what, goes wrong. Suffice it to say that this one very much pulled on my heartstrings in a good way and had some very satisfying moments plus some hope for the future.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wing Kee

    Beautiful heartwarming tale. I love these little short stories that Taylor does for St. Mary's they are always character driven and add so much heart to the ridiculous and zany antics of the full series. This one focuses on Max and Matthew a wonderful and delicate relationship that has been happening for a while not but this little tale was so well constructed I can't even put to words the wonderful feelings I had at the last line of dialog from Matthew at the end of this tale. It's good. It's so Beautiful heartwarming tale. I love these little short stories that Taylor does for St. Mary's they are always character driven and add so much heart to the ridiculous and zany antics of the full series. This one focuses on Max and Matthew a wonderful and delicate relationship that has been happening for a while not but this little tale was so well constructed I can't even put to words the wonderful feelings I had at the last line of dialog from Matthew at the end of this tale. It's good. It's so so so good. Onward to the next book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Short holiday story involving mostly Max and Matthew. Ending is a bit unbelievable, but can be forgiven as the intent is for a satisfying feel-good story. Fans of the series should enjoy it, but won't miss anything important if skipped. Short holiday story involving mostly Max and Matthew. Ending is a bit unbelievable, but can be forgiven as the intent is for a satisfying feel-good story. Fans of the series should enjoy it, but won't miss anything important if skipped.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Another jump - "and everything went white. . . " I love that phrase! And this is Max and her son, Matthew! It's a family thing in this super short story. And with an air of Dickens about it. . . . 4 stars! Another jump - "and everything went white. . . " I love that phrase! And this is Max and her son, Matthew! It's a family thing in this super short story. And with an air of Dickens about it. . . . 4 stars!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma Flanagan

    I’m now fully caught up on all things St Mary’s and actually have to wait for the next book. 😩

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bram

    Another delightful little short story from the St. Mary's nutcases. This time with a wonderful Christmas feel-good atmosphere and some much needed mother/son bonding time to boot. As always, the writing and humor are the same level I expect from Jodi Taylor, and I'm very happy that for once she didn't rip my heart out and stomped on it, instead focusing on some much needed healing. Very short, but entertaining nonetheless. 4 stars for warming this old cynics heart, but not amazing either. Another delightful little short story from the St. Mary's nutcases. This time with a wonderful Christmas feel-good atmosphere and some much needed mother/son bonding time to boot. As always, the writing and humor are the same level I expect from Jodi Taylor, and I'm very happy that for once she didn't rip my heart out and stomped on it, instead focusing on some much needed healing. Very short, but entertaining nonetheless. 4 stars for warming this old cynics heart, but not amazing either.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    At last, the wait is over and the annual St Mary's Christmas romp has arrived and it was well worth the wait. Max, Leon and Matthew are finally going to spend their first Christmas together. It has been particularly rough for them. Matthew kidnapped by Ronan and left in Victorian slums was finally rescued by his father. For Matthew years have passed whilst for Max it was only days. Instead of a baby she found herself with a small, untrusting boy who bore little resemblance to the baby that she lo At last, the wait is over and the annual St Mary's Christmas romp has arrived and it was well worth the wait. Max, Leon and Matthew are finally going to spend their first Christmas together. It has been particularly rough for them. Matthew kidnapped by Ronan and left in Victorian slums was finally rescued by his father. For Matthew years have passed whilst for Max it was only days. Instead of a baby she found herself with a small, untrusting boy who bore little resemblance to the baby that she loved and adored. . However, it is Christmas, and what would Christmas at St Mary's be without a secret and illicit trip into the past as Max tries to regain her son's trust and love. This has to be the best of all the short stories....though I suspect that I say this every year...It is certainly the most atmospheric as Jodi brings to life what life the characters and places described in her writings. A lovely edition to the series and if you don't have a little cry at the end I can only assume that you have no soul.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mburrows

    Love, love, love. Since Jodi Taylor is my favorite author I would expect nothing less than the best. I was not disappointed. Anxiously awaiting the next installment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Young

    Oh thank you for this one!! Just mad that I didn’t know about it until today!

  12. 5 out of 5

    ClareM

    A Merry Christmas 😃 YESSSSS! This is satisfyingly totally Taylor, and pure Max. I can hardly wait for the next volume. More soon, please!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Josie Jaffrey

    Yet another excellent short story in the St Mary’s series. It was heart-rending, engaging and hilarious in classic Jodi Taylor fashion. I became distinctly misty-eyed on more than one occasion. I can’t wait for book 9.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Li

    The perfect feel-good Christmas story...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karsyn

    Cute good story, typical Christmas at St Mary's fun, without the chaos. 3.5 stars, rated down just because it's too damn short. Cute good story, typical Christmas at St Mary's fun, without the chaos. 3.5 stars, rated down just because it's too damn short.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Marvelous St Mary's Christmas story! Marvelous St Mary's Christmas story!

  17. 4 out of 5

    J.A. Ironside

    Best ending to a St Mary's short story ever. Best ending to a St Mary's short story ever.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Max takes Matthew back to early Victorian England to help the two little boys who were chimney sweeps alongside him. Oh Jodi, you pulled on my heartstrings with this novella. I can't say more without spoiling the story, just let me say that it was a lovely story and reflected what we all hope Christmas will be like. Sigh, when is the next one? Max takes Matthew back to early Victorian England to help the two little boys who were chimney sweeps alongside him. Oh Jodi, you pulled on my heartstrings with this novella. I can't say more without spoiling the story, just let me say that it was a lovely story and reflected what we all hope Christmas will be like. Sigh, when is the next one?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Loved it. I wasn't too happy with events in ATRIH so I'm glad this was a happier tale and I loved the fact it was once again written from Max' perspective and not any other characters. Roll on book 9! Loved it. I wasn't too happy with events in ATRIH so I'm glad this was a happier tale and I loved the fact it was once again written from Max' perspective and not any other characters. Roll on book 9!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trelawn

    A little bit Dickens but most definitely Jodi Taylor. A Max and Matthew Christmas outing to keep me going until the next book. Laughed out loud at the ending.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen Fan

    So cute!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    An excellent Christmas short story. Max finally becomes a mom.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Christmas Past was way too short! I was pleasantly surprised this book was released before Christmas Day (the projected release date) I love Max's quirky view of the world and her first Christmas with her son was just as it should be. Christmas Past was way too short! I was pleasantly surprised this book was released before Christmas Day (the projected release date) I love Max's quirky view of the world and her first Christmas with her son was just as it should be.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    As always, a treat!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jacey

    Max takes another illegal Christmas Day time jump, this time to her son’s past. They provide Christmas for some waifs and get a stellar but unexpected outcome. Audiobook Max and Leon's son, Matthew, was once kidnapped by series villain Clive Ronan, and sold to a Victorian chimney sweep as a climbing boy. Max is struggling with guiding Matthew through life after rescue, so on the traditional (illegal) Christmas jump, Max takes Matthew back to see his fellow climbing boys and take them some Christma Max takes another illegal Christmas Day time jump, this time to her son’s past. They provide Christmas for some waifs and get a stellar but unexpected outcome. Audiobook Max and Leon's son, Matthew, was once kidnapped by series villain Clive Ronan, and sold to a Victorian chimney sweep as a climbing boy. Max is struggling with guiding Matthew through life after rescue, so on the traditional (illegal) Christmas jump, Max takes Matthew back to see his fellow climbing boys and take them some Christmas cheer, and ends up facing Matthew's former employer, Ma Scrope.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tina Miles

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I finally had a chance to read Christmas Past and I really enjoyed it. It was wonderful to laugh a little (‘Dear God...There’s two of them.’), weep a little and smile lots! Thanks so much for the story, Jodi Taylor! A masterfully written and thoroughly awesome tale! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I’m thrilled to hear that if Leon passes his medical that he’ll be back at St. Mary's for good. This separation from Leon and Matthew has been hard on Max. I worry a bit (as do Max and Leon) I finally had a chance to read Christmas Past and I really enjoyed it. It was wonderful to laugh a little (‘Dear God...There’s two of them.’), weep a little and smile lots! Thanks so much for the story, Jodi Taylor! A masterfully written and thoroughly awesome tale! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I’m thrilled to hear that if Leon passes his medical that he’ll be back at St. Mary's for good. This separation from Leon and Matthew has been hard on Max. I worry a bit (as do Max and Leon) about how connected Matthew will be with Max and Leon in the future. How often will they get to see Matthew? Will he stay in touch? He’s so self-contained but is still a little boy who will need nurturing. I really liked how we saw flashes of a 'normal' little boy pop up - barreling into his Dad, running to see Lingoss, his assessment of Max at the end. Makes me hopeful that a close family will develop down the road but there's many an obstacle ahead I'm sure. We’ve always known that Max was kickass but I’m so happy that Matthew now sees it too. How great to end the story on that positive note. It’s been a long time coming for this family! Although it seems rather dramatic to say, I think it’s good for our group of Disaster Magnets to have a ‘feel good’ story to tide us over until April when reality will once again intrude into their lives. I suspect many of us are relieved to have a happy story after the recent tragedies. I’m not sure what jumps Matthew gets to do at HQ (if any) but this felt like a training jump to me and lucky Matthew, he got to go with one of the best! Didn’t Max do a fine job of handling Matthew? Not pushing him to talk to her on the stairs, giving him clear direction yet allowing him to make his own decisions, being supportive yet firm, being flexible about doing another jump. And she kept pulling his hat down-lol-a perfectly normal mother-son interaction. Wasn't it amusing to watch her make him tell time? I was as pleased as a parent myself that Max did such a great job as a Mom, a historian and as a human being. Take that mean ol’ Ma Scropes! Max rocks! Don’t you love how changed Rosie is now although she still keeps up appearances? Such a fun little game she and Max play but I'm glad to see the affection underlying it all. I was afraid a few books ago that this relationship would end up like the one between Max and Barclay. What a sweet reunion for Max and Leon. I just love how Leon smiles just for Max alone although at the end of the story, I was a trifle worried when he gave her the ‘full Farrell frown’ but it’s all good! I noticed how much past events pop into Max’s mind throughout the story (the Ripper reference had me worried) and it shows how much she has changed and become stronger and hardened although there are many flashes of the old Max. Loved it when clever Mrs. Midgely surprised Max (and me!). And the ongoing mystery of whether Markham and Hunter are married popped up again! When will we find out?????? I loved the brief glimpses we get of Petersen and Markham (quel idiots). I always enjoy imagining what Lingoss is up to - particularly with Matthew! I’ll be reading this story several more times and it may actually edge out Ships, Stings and Wedding Rings as my all time favourite JT short story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katrine Roberts

    Max’s family life is complicated, the reason is (as usual) arch enemy Clive Ronan, who is not dead yet and definitely not a mother. Max’s son Matthew was stolen when he was a baby, the most heart breaking scene in any book. *see And the Rest is History.* Matthew and Max’s husband, Leon( Matthew’s father) have returned to St Mary’s for a week to celebrate Christmas. The book could be a sob a minute, but is a great picture of hope. I had to skip to the end and read backwards just in case. There’s Max’s family life is complicated, the reason is (as usual) arch enemy Clive Ronan, who is not dead yet and definitely not a mother. Max’s son Matthew was stolen when he was a baby, the most heart breaking scene in any book. *see And the Rest is History.* Matthew and Max’s husband, Leon( Matthew’s father) have returned to St Mary’s for a week to celebrate Christmas. The book could be a sob a minute, but is a great picture of hope. I had to skip to the end and read backwards just in case. There’s a hint of Max’s unhappy childhood and she sees her courage and grit and defiance has been passed to Matthew. Max and Matthew travel back to the awful time in 19th century London, where Clive Ronan sold Matthew to bring some warmth and food to Matthew’s ex- work companions, 2 dreadfully and dangerously neglected little boys, put to work as chimney sweeps. The novella is lifted by st Mary’s comic duo, Mr Markham and Dr Peterson. They stay behind just to make sure that no one panics at the absence of both mother and son. There’s a stunning bit of Markhamismo at the end. Tim Peterson and Max are convinced that he’s hiding an expensive education. I’m sorry, that this review only makes sense if you are a St Mary’s fan. Dear Jodi, please help! I’m trapped in these books and can’t escape! Right now, I’m trying to get my poor head round Max and Leon’s story. I’m so looking forward to Leon’s return to St Mary’s that I can hardly wait. I do hope you will reveal a tiny hint of just how old Leon really is. Their marriage seems to please Mrs Partridge, who can see into the future and the past, so I’ll just have to enjoy the ride and so far, so good. Oh God, it’s been wonderful.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter Bradley

    Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R2VS... My rating reflects more on me than on the book. This is the first of the St. Mary's books that I've read, so I came into this with no introduction to the characters or knowledge about their backstory. This story presupposes that knowledge, although it makes a fair effort to explain some of the high points of this "story universe." So, we get an idea about the "pods" that do the time traveling and some of the fe Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R2VS... My rating reflects more on me than on the book. This is the first of the St. Mary's books that I've read, so I came into this with no introduction to the characters or knowledge about their backstory. This story presupposes that knowledge, although it makes a fair effort to explain some of the high points of this "story universe." So, we get an idea about the "pods" that do the time traveling and some of the features of St. Mary's. We get an introduction to Max, her husband, Leon, and their son, Matthew, who we learn was stolen and abandoned in Dickensian London. On the other hand, there were a lot of inside jokes about characters who were obviously trotted out in order to fulfill fan expectations. I did not know who these people were or what their interactions were supposed to mean, so that part went over my head. The story is rather simple. Young Matthew wants to visit the squalid Dickensian home where his adopted brothers are kept to give them a bit of Christmas cheer. One thing leads to another and there is a bit of an adventure. It is a fine story, but slight, and I'm sure that I would have enjoyed it more with background. My recommendation - which I intend to follow - is to begin at the beginning.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Another fine mess, uh Christmas Adventure Ah, St. Mary's at Christmas. Another fine chapter for the Society. I won't give away the story, just know that it's another wonderful Christmas story, one that warms the heart as well as the soul. I've been a fan of St. Mary's since the first novel was published. By this time, many Stories have been told in novel fashion, many have been short. And there's the author's tradition of adding in a Christmas story each year This one is no different. We go on an Another fine mess, uh Christmas Adventure Ah, St. Mary's at Christmas. Another fine chapter for the Society. I won't give away the story, just know that it's another wonderful Christmas story, one that warms the heart as well as the soul. I've been a fan of St. Mary's since the first novel was published. By this time, many Stories have been told in novel fashion, many have been short. And there's the author's tradition of adding in a Christmas story each year This one is no different. We go on an adventure, a true Christmas tale of hope and charity. And the result is unexpected in one respect, but totally expected in others. It's a rousing good story and continues the tale of St. Mary's in a charming and fashionable way. Read it. You'll be glad you did.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    This is probably one of my favorites of the short stories so far. It's Matthew's first Christmas home with Max and Leon, and he's worried about his friends. Max, looking for a way to connect with him, especially after Leon's news that (view spoiler)[he's pretty sure Matthew will choose to stay with the Time Police instead of living with them (hide spoiler)] , of course decides to follow tradition and make an illicit Christmas Eve jump in order to give Matthew's friends a treat and help in what wa This is probably one of my favorites of the short stories so far. It's Matthew's first Christmas home with Max and Leon, and he's worried about his friends. Max, looking for a way to connect with him, especially after Leon's news that (view spoiler)[he's pretty sure Matthew will choose to stay with the Time Police instead of living with them (hide spoiler)] , of course decides to follow tradition and make an illicit Christmas Eve jump in order to give Matthew's friends a treat and help in what ways she can. It's less comedic than usual (possibly owing to (view spoiler)[Peterson and Markham staying behind (hide spoiler)] , though there are still funny bits, but I really loved her interactions with Matthew, and as well as with Leon afterward. I NEED BOOK 9 NOW!!!

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