Publisher: UK – HarperLou Suffern is practised in the art of concealment. He is, also, always overstretched, trying to do too many things at once. His overburdened schedule gives him few moments of peace, even in his sleep. And when he spends time at home with his wife and family, he is always distracted, and, mentally, somewhere else. On a cold winter morning, Lou is on his way to work when he encounters Gabe, a homeless street dweller, sitting outside an office building. Lou is intrigued by him, and contrives to get him a job in the post room. But this act of charity rebounds on him, and Gabe’s presence begins to grate on Lou -- particularly when he discovers that the latter seems capable of being in two places at the same time. Christmas is drawing near, and before the season is over, Lou’s life will be irrevocably change by the casual act of kindness he has performed.
There seems to be an increased number of seasonal books this year with every other chick-lit book titled Coming home for Christmas or A Christmas romance. The Gift is probably the book that started it in the UK a couple of years ago. This was a present I received last year but I wanted to read it in the run up to Christmas so I picked it up during my snowdays last week. It’s the perfect type of book to read curled up indoors while there is snow falling outside and everything is white beyond your front door.
Cecelia Ahren has a habit of taking standard chick-lit tropes and giving them a slight supernatural bent. This story involves the saving of one man’s soul in the run up to Christmas after he decides to take pity on the homeless guy sitting outside his office. There is plenty of introspection in this story – working hard for your family verses spending time with them and realising what you miss out on when you don’t pay attention to the here and now. It reads like It’s A Wonderful Life in 21st Century Ireland. I will hold my hand up and admit that I was in tears by the end – it’s a great Christmas family book. Easy to read and ultimately feel good this is a great story about learning to appreciate what you have.
Recommended for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell. 8 out of 10.