Summary: Can a gift from the past mend a broken heart?
Ian Collins is an old man without his son. Patrick Collins is a young boy without his father. On his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And he wants the dusty wooden soldier in Grandfather's attic--the one he is forbidden to touch.
Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is the engaging story of a family in need of forgiveness. With simple grace, it reminds us of the small things that affect powerful change in our hearts--a young boy's prayers, a shoe box of love letters, and even a half-carved soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart. -- Revell
Now that Thanksgiving is over and I'm all decorated for Christmas, I feel like I can kind of relax a bit. Since reading is one of my absolutely favorite (and most relaxing things) to do, I've decided that I'm going to spend some time over the next few weeks reading some holiday-themed books. I absolutely love Christmas and especially books about Christmas. For some reason, reading these books just gets me in the right mood for the holiday.
I recently finished a Christian fiction book called THE UNFINISHED GIFT by Dan Walsh, and it is definitely a book that epitomizes the spirit of Christmas. This novel about a young boy who is forced to live with his grandfather is guaranteed to touch your heart. It might even bring a tear or two to your eyes as well. This novel is a relatively quick read that is perfect for this time of year.
I enjoyed THE UNFINISHED GIFT a great deal, and I can't get the characters out of my mind. Patrick is a young boy whose mother dies in a car accident and whose father is overseas fighting in World War II. Since Patrick's grandfather is the only living relative, he is forced to live with him until his father can come home from the war. Patrick's grandfather is a very bitter old man because he has lost everything dear to him -- his wife has died and he and Patrick's father have had a falling out. Patrick's grandfather is so miserable that he takes his anger out on Patrick.
Of course, my heart went out to Patrick. He was so young to be dealing with the loss of his mother as well as a missing father. In addition, he had to live with his grandfather who was a stranger to him and a mean one at that. But, I actually felt very bad for Patrick's grandfather too. I can't imagine living with so much anger and resentment -- it just seemed like he was wasting his life. I was so glad that by the end of the book, he realized the error of his ways and could start healing the relationships with his son and his grandson.
I loved the lessons in this story and they definitely made me reflect on my own life. I've recently been reminded that life is too short not to appreciate each and every day. And I am also constantly reminded of how important family is in my life. I liked that THE UNFINISHED GIFT showed that it's never too late to open your heart to love and ask for forgiveness. In addition, I appreciated that even though Patrick's mother had died, she still could affect others' behavior through the strength of her Christian faith. There were just so very many beautiful messages in this story.
THE UNFINISHED GIFT is Mr. Walsh's first novel, and I absolutely loved the characters. I thought the story ended perfectly, but I admit that I'm curious about what happens to the characters after the book ends. I was glad to see that there is a sequel to THE UNFINISHED GIFT called THE HOMECOMING which will be available in June 2010. I am looking forward to reading this novel as well as Mr. Walsh's future books.
If you are looking for a story that will definitely tug at your heartstrings, then you might want to give THE UNFINISHED GIFT a try. I also think this novel would make an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys stories about the magic of the Christmas season.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.