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5 Chocolate-Rich Holiday Stories

When the days shorten, we crave the oldest of pick-me-ups, a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Those five short-stories deal with trials and new beginnings, and how friendship or even love can bloom in the worst conditions, provided we never stop hoping for the best.

Five Holiday tales of compassion and courage, of wonders and sweetness penned by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise, to enjoy with your favorite mug of warm chocolate !


Whatever is the flavor of your life and your deep-rooted beliefs, the shorter days leading to the holidays often coincides with difficult situations, forcing hard decisions.

It is a time when the heart may feel the relentless pressure of the exterior world, and also experiments inner turmoils of its own. No wonder, then, that so many striving souls lack confidence!

When everything darkens, I crave for the oldest of pick-me-up, a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Not the just-add-hot-water powder product, but rich, warm milk and cacao, with sugar, that I mix myself in the cup. I enjoy listening to the gentle notes of the spoon tapping against the porcelain as I twirl it, seeing the little mound of cacao melt into the hot milk, breathing in the rich aroma…

And the book. Do not forget the good book.


Those five stories deal with trials and new beginnings, and how love or friendship can bloom in the worst conditions, provided we never stop hoping for the best.

Winter Pariah is a reprint of the story published in the 2020 Winter Holidays anthology edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It features the first apparition of Lady Byrd, a distinguished ornithologist who mends fences and solves problems along her way. The closing story, Christmas Truck Stop, is a magical urban tale that happens to a weary housewife, right on Christmas Eve.

Three sweet romances are sandwiched between those two. Gingerbread Man revisits the start of the 1980’s and blooms in a happy-hippie meeting. Maverick Raven is set post-covid in the City That Never Sleeps, and deals with a wounded soul and an act of compassion. Are You Tree this Evening is set in a well-known Toronto market.

The stories range from realist to fantasy and romance, the setting navigates between Toronto, New York and the Appalachian countryside, but the questions asked are as old as humanity. Is there some magic left at Christmas time? Will I find a good man? A good friend? Can I protect my forest? And a wealth of wonders can stem from a wounded bird found in the cold or from a delivery truck lost in a suburb street.

Enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate!

Michèle Laframboise