• Selena | Beauty's Library

The Christmas Bell Review

Some Christmas ornaments should be left in the attic.


Rating: 4/5

Some Christmas ornaments should be left in the attic.


When Candace Mills, 26, heads home for the holidays to visit her mother and ailing grandmother, she's expecting a peaceful, dull Christmas. She has no idea, though, that a single Christmas ornament is about to send her into a whirling chasm of evil.


It starts with the Christmas bell, scratched and worn in one of Grandma Anne's boxes in the attic. Once they put it on the tree, Grandma Anne starts to say terrifying things and act strangely. Candace and her mother assume it's her dementia talking—until they start to have dangerous encounters with a fiendish being.


As the secrets of Anne's past involving her twin sister rise to the surface, the women face sinister horrors from a dark force looking for revenge.


Will any of them be able to survive, or will they fall prey to the malevolent secret Grandma Anne is harboring from her past?

This is definitely the perfect horror for the holiday season! Though I will admit it was a bit shorter than I expected. The premise of The Christmas Bell is truly haunting. We follow Candance, 26 who’s decided to come home for Christmas after hearing it may be her grandmother’s last one. To bring a little more cheer, Candance digs out her grandmother’s holiday decor from the attic, along with one peculiar ornament, a Christmas bell. Once the ornament is placed on the tree, the women are tortured by an entity seeking revenge from her grandmother’s past.


This story definitely gave me Krampus vibes. It was such a captivating read. There wasn’t a slow part as we bounce between the past and the present. I will say the ending was not at all what I was expecting it to be. Though I’m not complaining, I was glad it wasn’t predictable.


It was such a captivating read. There wasn’t a slow part as we bounce between the past and the present.

I’m also even more excited to pick up Detwiler’s upcoming novel, The Redwood Asylum. Which is mentioned in this story. We briefly touch on what goes on there. Now I’m curious if the events that take place in this story will be hinted at in that novel. I’m hoping to read that soon!


I truly enjoyed reading this chilling holiday story. I just wish it was a little longer than we got. Throughout the story, we’re hinted at the pasts of Candance, her mother, and her grandmother. We really only focus on the past of the grandmother, Anne that’s come back to haunt them. We’re briefly told Candance’s’ mother’s past, but not Candance’s past. I would have liked to have heard the story there as it seemed so significant when we were in Candance’s point of view.


Overall, I absolutely loved this holiday horror! It’s definitely up there with Krampus. I’m happy I also got a chance to read the additional short story - Rachel’s Story as it sheds a little more light on the events that occur in this story. If you love horror, I definitely recommend picking this one up! But make sure to also pick up Rachel’s Story! It’ll make you rethink how The Christmas Bell ends!


Keep reading for my thoughts on Rachel’s Story!

Note: I wrote this review before having read The Redwood Asylum, as I'm posting this now, I'm halfway through The Redwood Asylum. Even though I'm only halfway through, I definitely recommend reading that as well if you have or plan to read The Christmas Bell! These three stories definitely all go hand in hand with one another!

The Christmas Bell: Rachel's Story Rating: 5/5

Warning! Spoilers for The Christmas Bell and Rachel’s Story!


Reading this after The Christmas Bell helped so much with understanding a little bit of how and why things happened. In The Christmas Bell, we only really got to see Anne’s point of view on what happened when she and her twin, Rachel were young. Seeing Rachel’s thoughts painted a much better picture. Plus we got to see the creation of the bell ornament she leaves behind for Anne.


Based on the events that ended in The Christmas Bell, I can’t help but wonder if Candance will have the same fate as Rachel. We see Candance admitted to the Redwood Asylum, the same place as where Rachel ended up. And we see that Rachel saw the same entity that Candance now sees. This red-headed figure. We see through this short story that this entity is the reason Rachel was able to achieve her revenge.


It left me to wonder how Candance’s fate will end at the asylum. As far as we can see, her past was innocent so the entity has no reason to be wanting her. That brings me back to how we’re only hinted at Candance’s past in The Christmas Bell. We never got to learn her full past. So why is she seeing it? Was there more to her past than we got to learn? I sense another book!