Masters in This Hall

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 review
'Tis the season for stories by the fireside; why not read them from Anne B. Walsh's fourth collection of Christmas and winter-themed tales? Find out what the Winter Princess, on a journey to save her love, has in common with Amanda Evans, child of the greater galaxy; learn with the Christmas cat that any gift can be great; and discover the tales of Anne's own Spirit of Christmas (Cookies) Past. More
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About Anne B. Walsh

Anne B. Walsh was telling stories about magic and intrigue from the time she could talk, but it took her twenty years to realize she could make a living at it. Her first novel, historical fantasy "A Widow in Waiting", has its origins in a PBS special which changed her life; her second, family-focused fantasy "Homecoming", takes its inspiration from some of her other writing; and her third, soft science fiction "Killdeer", stems from her constant interest in the ways in which the future and the past coincide.

Anne lives east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with one roommate (Krystal), two black Labs (Buddy and Brando), and two black cats (Starsky and Hutch). Sadly, their Cane Corso mastiff, Bruce, passed away in mid-August 2013, and their first cats, Poppy and Sesame, who helped inform Anne's first collection of short stories, "Cat Tales", passed out of their lives after an accident on Christmas Day 2013. No one ever said life was fair.

Anne's parents and siblings live two hours north of her, otherwise known as just far enough away. She has also been writing Harry Potter fan fiction for more than ten years and is known best in that genre as the creator of the "Dangerverse" alternate universe (which inspired "Homecoming").

Beyond writing fiction, Anne's preoccupations include reading fiction; singing anywhere that will have her, including her church and local galas; theatre, especially musicals; all forms of cooking; and her family and friends. Within writing fiction, her preoccupations are much the same, meaning most of her stories involve loving families, delicious food, and good music. Consider yourself warned.

A number of projects continue to need Anne's attention as she writes her original novels. Among these are her ongoing fanfiction works in various fandoms such as Harry Potter and Frozen, and the themed fantasy anthologies she co-authors with her friend and fellow author Elizabeth Conall.

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Reviews of Masters in This Hall by Anne B. Walsh

H S reviewed on Jan. 13, 2016

One good, one brilliant, one that varies. In that order. As with many of the other Christmas collections, the story worth buying the book for is the story set in the Killdeer universe. But that one's second, so we'll leave it for now.

The good story is The Christmas Cat, which is - well, most of it is a story about the birth of Jesus and the cat that couldn't decide what gift to give. The tale itself is entertaining. Put talking animals in a story (without making them into humans wearing a little faux fur) and that's me at least partially sold. It didn't hurt that the cat had a sweet nature (I love cats too). And the message to serve in whatever way we can was earned by the events. But I think the frame - the Glenscar bit - either needed to be at the start AND the end, or not have been there at all. Preferably the first, as it WAS well-written and interesting. But as it stands it's not really relevant to the story itself. Even just showing their reactions to the story afterwards, how it affected them, would probably have been just enough.

I love, I love, I LOVE the Killdeer universe! And the second story, the one set there, true to form is the best of the three. Anne's got even better at weaving together a fictional dramatic performance and a real problem with high stakes. The dramatic performance by the Aelur reflects the problem beautifully and kind of transcends it, making it into a myth. It's a gorgeous tale - if you like Killdeer, you'll absolutely love it, and if you've never read Killdeer, you *might* have to read the short prequel to this story first (which can be found here: and then you'll love it anyway. The entire script of the dramatic performance is included as an extra at the end of the ebook, which is a nice touch. The Killdeer shorts are just getting better and better.

On rereading the third story, it's grown on me a bit; I enjoyed it more the second time through. It's really not one story as such, rather twelve little vignettes. Some of them are better than others; I particularly enjoyed the 3rd sign because it has a really heartwarming twist, and the 6th sign because of the humour.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
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