Monday, January 12, 2015

The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith

 The 13th Gift    

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.

I can't say enough what a touching, moving story this was.

It was, in a way, bittersweet for me. My kids and I were celebrating our first Christmas "without" their father, my husband. But he did not die - he just decided to leave. The parallels were similar - but not the same. How do you celebrate one of the biggest holidays - which isn't just a "holiday" but a "season" when this year is so different from all the ones before it?

Mrs. Smith and some members of her family just didn't want to celebrate. I took a different path and decided that we would keep some traditions that we didn't want to give up and make others based on where we felt our life was at that point. And, in the end, that's pretty much what the Smith family did.

The journey from the first gift to the last brought many different reactions - from the initial gift that Mrs. Smith wanted nothing to do with to the gifts that brought eager anticipation. The difference the gifts made in every member of the family, from Megan who was "in" from the first gift, to the boys who came along as the presents made more of an impact, there was a journey through the sadness to the acceptance that things, while they would never be the same, would be okay.

Fabulous reading - and it will be a holiday staple that I will read again and again.

Highly recommended.


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."