The Befana Drama, Gianna Hartwright

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In a little town in Italy there lives a very proud witch called the Befana, who for centuries has popped coal or candy into the festive stockings of naughty or good children. She even has her own festival and postbox and life is just perfect … until she discovers her festival is being ‘downsized’ and her postbox boarded up! When told Santa Claus is taking over her Very Important Present Bringer (VIPB) patch, her anger sends candy balls bouncing down the street! What else is a witch supposed to do but charge off around the world on her broomstick, visit Old Father Time to be rejuvenated as ‘Bef’, enjoy scary moments – in the Black Forest, a Russian coal mine and American candy factory – and fight back … with the help of a boy band, an exiled-to-Siberia tailor and the best reindeer whisperer the world has ever seen?

Publisher: Gianna Della Luna Publishing (27 Aug 2013)

Reviewer: Natalie Kershaw

This book was absolutely not what I expected! I think it fair to say that when you see a book with a picture of a witch on it (albeit with a silhouette of Santa’s sleigh in the background), you would expect it to have more witchy overtones and definitely be more Halloween than yuletide. It isn’t. I found this story hard to get into initially; but I think that I judged a book by its cover. It’s set in Italy and we are introduced to the Befana straight away. Her festival is being downsized…she is not happy about it. We are then led on a story of relationships, celebrity and its pitfalls, love, revenge, a boy band, a broomstick with feelings and a heck of a lot of mythology. I found this book by Gianna Hartwright amusing in places and she led you on a journey that I didn’t expect so I enjoyed that. This is modernism meets traditionalism and all its pitfalls and how to cope with changes around you and how you fit in it. There are 340 pages and I did find it easy to read and fast-paced so the pages flew by…….just don’t expect pumpkins.


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