Festive book review: The Return of the Magi

How fast is December going? Christmas book reviews need sharing so today’s book review is for P.J Tracy’s Return of the Magi.

Return of the Magi cover

Title The Return of the Magi

Author: P.J Tracy

Publisher Penguin UK – Joseph Michael


Warm your heart this Christmas with this wonderful festive tale from bestselling author P.J. Tracy – perfect for fans of It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Emil Rice has a silver tongue and sticky fingers, the only problem is that his charm always gets him into trouble and he’s never been very good at not getting arrested. Twenty-two times he’s been caught and twenty-two times he’s sworn never to steal again, but it’s on his twenty-third arrest when Emil realises he may have picked up more than he bargained for. Sentenced to community service at a secure mental health facility, Emil is unwillingly befriended by two elderly female patients who believe he is the final part of a big cosmic plan that will change their lives forever… This heartwarming Christmas tale of kindness, friendship and redemption will be perfect for the cold winter nights!

I was recently introduced to PJ Tracy’s books by reading her crime novel Nothing stays Buried so  I was unsure what to expect from this Christmas short story. It was as different as chalk and cheese. Emil Rice is a smooth talking, small time crook who is facing more time in prison when he is given an alternative option – work in a secure mental institution for a year. He is soon stalked by two sisters who believe he is the third king from the Christmas story – the one they have been eagerly waiting for a long time. This is the beginning of the humorous and surreal mayhem. The   unique and loveable characters form a quirky, enjoyable read different to any I have read before. It is refreshing to read a festive story without a romantic slant. There isn’t a cosy kitchen oozing warmth and comfort in sight.

With its descriptions of the vibrant colours of the magi costumes against the institutional grey settings, light-hearted nature and seasonal plot it is easy to imagine it being adapted successfully to the screen. It could easily become a classic to be enjoyed annually as part of the Christmas tradition.

This book is on my list to be read again next year to prepare for the festive celebrations.

Thank you NetGally and Michael Joseph for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.

Happy reading x


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