by Dan Walsh

November 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1924-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Revell

Patrick Collins mother has just died, and his father is overseas fighting the Nazis. With no where left to go, the seven-year-old boy is taken to his grandfather’s house, a man he has never met. Patrick’s father, Shawn, is estranged from his father, and the rift has never been restored.

The last thing Ian Collins expected was to have this unknown young boy in his care. Especially since now the social worker and his priest are sticking their nose in his business telling him how to take care of the boy and that he needs to decorate for Christmas. Ian didn’t see any point in decorating for Christmas. The boy’s mother had just died, his father would be home soon, and well, since Ian’s wife had died he hadn’t decorated anything.

When Ian is forced to allow some Christmas decorations, he admits the boy into the attic with strict instructions to only touch the Christmas pretties, not the tree ornaments, and not to touch anything else in the attic. Patrick agrees…at least until he spies an unfinished, hand-carved wooden soldier in the corner of the attic. A soldier Ian has forbidden to touch, and one Patrick desperately wants.

The Unfinished Gift is the debut novel of Dan Walsh, but it certainly won’t be the last. Poignant and heartwarming, this is a book that will break your heart and make you cry (don’t read without a box of tissues close by), but brings back the hope that maybe everything will be all right.

A story of redemption and forgiveness, The Unfinished Gift is a book that will stand out this holiday season. The characters are unforgettable, the setting vividly described. This is a book to read yourself, and then buy extra copies for all your friends and family, a book that will go on your keeper shelf to read next year. And the year following. And the year following that. I am looking forward to reading The Homecoming, coming in June 2010.

Reviewed in February 2010 by Laura.

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