I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith
Published by Crown Publishing Group on October 28th 2014
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Death, Grief, Bereavement, Family & Relationships, Holidays (non-religious), Personal Memoirs, Social Science
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For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.
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.
The 13th Gift: A True Story Of A Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith seemed appealing to me because I am a bit of a huge sap. I like books about miracles and Christmas and people having the spirit and faith in the season reaffirmed. So, I obtained a copy of The 13th Gift in the hopes that maybe vicariously I would feel a renewed hope and Christmas spirit. Unfortunately, that did not pan out.
Smith’s book is all about her first Christmas with her family after her husband dies unexpectedly. Smith seems to have lost all her Christmas spirit and cheer. Her family is falling apart. She is barely holding it together. I can’t blame her, as what she experienced is incredibly tragic. Anyways, Smith initially wants nothing to do with Christmas even though her kids really need it, for their own healing. She keeps putting off family traditions and even purchasing gifts for her children. It seems like the holidays will bypass her family this year. That is, until a ‘true friend’ begins leaving surprises on her doorstep in the twelve days leading up to Christmas. These gifts are the miracle that the Smith family desperately needs.
In theory, I think I could have loved The 13th Gift as I like books about this subject matter. However in all honesty it took me forever to get through this book. To start with, I found myself abhorring the mother. I know, I know I have never been in her situation and won’t understand her pain and grief. Yet, I am human and so my judgmental side came out. I felt like she really had to pull it together for her kids and she was not doing that. Again, I know I should be more understanding but I just felt so irritated with her. Due to this irritation, I kept putting off reading the book. Granted, the end redeems the book and all of the people involved. I think that most people won’t mind Smith and that it’s just one of my own personal preferences.
If you are looking for a more serious book about Christmas and community and family, certainly give The 13th Gift a shot.