Thursday, December 24, 2015

The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith

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Book Information
Genre: Memoir
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553418556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553418552

Synopsis: 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.

Review: This is a book that will now be one of those I read EVERY December.  I've been planning to read it since it came out last year, but it got lost in the shuffle of my TBR pile, so I saved it for this Christmas season. The fact that the author is a local resident was also a drawing point for me.

This book deals with a family grieving the death of their husband and father, and their first holiday season without him. It is a very touching story, and shares the true spirit of the season. The gifts that show up on the family's doorstep each day not only help them to get the holiday spirit back in their lives, they also bring the family back together.

I couldn't stop reading this book, wanting to get to the next chapter to find out about the next gift. By the end, you will realize that the thirteenth gift is the most meaningful one of all.

I'm going to be recommending this one to everyone, and probably gifting it to people next year.  

Rating: Five stars


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Joanne (Jo) Huist Smith was an award-winning journalist for the Dayton Daily News where she chronicled the lives of people and issues shaping her Ohio community. She began writing short stories and journaling at age nine.
Jo was awarded first place from the Ohio Associated Press for Best Community Service for her 2009 package of stories on heroin’s destructive path through rural and suburban neighborhoods. The judges said her series “delivers information straight to the bloodstream.”
Jo’s career has been guided by advice given to her by former Dayton Daily News Managing Editor Steve Sidlo: “Love truth and you’ll be alright.” Those words are echoed in everything she writes, including The 13th Gift.
She is a life-long resident of the Dayton area and a graduate of Wright State University. She has three adult children and two absolutely adorable red-headed grandchildren.

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