Winter Blogfest: Cassie O’Brien

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of Once Upon A Christmastime and a hamper of Christmas chocolate..

The Tradition of the Christmas Goose in Olde England

Christmas is coming. The goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny

A ha’penny will do

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you. 

Whilst turkey was first eaten at Christmas during the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547) it remained an expensive luxury in the south of England until the well into the 20th century. Even in the Victorian era, a fat goose was the more normal highlight of the feast.

The birds were raised in East Anglia and herded along Drovers’ roads to London to be sold fresh in time for Christmas. Daniel Defoe recorded that 150,000 were driven from East Anglia to London each year, a journey that took three months to complete. To protect their feet, the geese had theirs tarred and sanded.

In London itself, many working-class citizens banded together to form ‘goose clubs’ as a way to make the Christmas meal more affordable. Each individual paid a few pence a week towards the purchase, and unlike the scene in the Cratchit household as portrayed in the Hollywood version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens – most family homes did not have an oven in which to roast one.

As a boon to the neighborhood the local baker normally agreed to leave his oven alight. The goose was prepared, stuffed to eke out the meat, then cooked as a community effort which was then shared out between the contributors.
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Lady Caroline’s Unexpected Christmas Guest
The last thing Bertie expected to do whilst attending the Duke of Avondale’s Christmas house party was to fall in love. Can he persuade the shy and reclusive Lady Caroline he is the man for her?
The Darling Dowager’s Christmas Treat
The Duke of Ancester is not a man to take no for an answer and certainly not from the young widow he has decided to marry. To escape his persistence, Isabella departs the capital, and travelling incognito, sets out to spend Christmas at the remote property she owns in Yorkshire. But the duke is hot on her heels.
Fairy Dust Wishes
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the shop floor of Robins and Son’s department store is thronged with customers. Working behind the perfumery counter, Megan encounters the shop’s seasonal Santa, and her generosity in helping him out of a fix changes her life forever.
Elle’s Christmas Surprise
Elle knows just what she wants for Christmas. Some quiet time in the company of a good book and a bottle of wine and definitely no turkey and tinsel parties. Bah humbug! Her giftshop is busy with customers, her plans are in place, until a blast from her past walks in with other ideas in mind.

A festive collaboration between the authors Cassie O’Brien – mum of four – writer of romance for Totally Entwined Group and committed party animal with a love of champagne and high-heels and Raven McAllan.

Cassie O’Brien – mum of four – writer of romance for Totally Entwined Group and committed party animal with a love of champagne and high-heels.

Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats–their children having flown the nest–surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland–the midge.
Her very understanding, and long-suffering DH, is used to his questions unanswered, the dust bunnies greeting him as he walks through the door, and rescuing burned offerings from the Aga. (And passing her a glass of wine as she types furiously.)


Buy the book at Amazon.


  1. I didn’t know that about the meal of Christmas goose. How cool!!! Now, I think having a goose for a meal is odd – like an unheard of delicacy. I’ve grown up only knowing two choices, turkey or ham. I don’t think they even SELL geese to eat around here. My, times have changed!
    And all the blurbs re; the Christmas stores sound AWESOME! Now those are the kinds of plots I enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cassie O'Brien says

      Hi Michele,
      I’ve picked you to be the winner of my prize. Could you email a postal address you like me to send it to?
      Best Wishes
      Cassie O’Brien

  2. nice cover

  3. I’ve always wanted a Christmas goose, just because of Dickens! However, they are SO EXPENSIVE…sheesh. But, next year my husband decided that we are going to have a British Christmas…. does that include a goose?

  4. Diane Estrella says

    Love historical fiction and love the Dickens shout out. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  5. That’s such a wonderful story, and one I never knew. Thank you for sharing!

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