The Innkeeper's Wife

A. J. Cronin

15 August 2013
28 pages


A J Cronin was commissioned by The American Weekly to write a Christmas story for the December 21st issue in 1958. His vision for the story is described in his letter of acceptance:

“It came to me very strongly that to achieve the highest and most profoundly touching results I should go back to the first Christmas of all and create a vivid reconstruction of the effects of the birth of the Child upon certain characters, notably the wife of the innkeeper where no room was found for Mary and Joseph. The title of the story would be The Innkeper’s Wife, for she, as I imagine her, is the central human character—a good and tender-hearted woman, childless herself, and bullied by an assertive and miserly husband.”

Here now is the alternative story of Christmas, narrated with great skill, by the author of The Citadel, Hatter’s Castle and The Stars Look Down