Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Review! The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith

The bit on the back…

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.


Firstly thank you to Crown Publishing for approving me for a review copy of this title via NetGalley. This is the first piece of non-fiction that I’ve reviewed and I hope I can do it justice!

This is the true story of the Smith family’s first Christmas after the death of their Husband and Father Richard. This is unlike any Christmas story you are likely to read this year in two ways. Firstly the fact that it’s a true story and secondly it’s not a straightforward Christmas spirit filled story with joy and laughter and cheer.

Firstly to Joanne, congratulations and much respect to you for being able to share your story. I am awed by the honesty of this account of life after death particularly from the point of view of the loved ones left behind. The struggle with grief is real and palpable as Joanne tells her family’s story and I became completely engrossed in their lives.

While reading the story I was swept away with the very real and raw emotion running throughout from anger to guilt to sadness and finally to happiness. The retelling of this hard time for the Smith family allows you to appreciate the gift of a healthy and happy family and also the gift of friendship which is the main theme.


The kindness of strangers and the impact that they had on the Smith’s lives on the run up to Christmas really make you want to pay it forward in some other way. The story is completely inspirational and heart-warming. It’s full of emotion and the truth of dealing with such a tough situation. I definitely recommend this read and now want to find a way to pay it forward myself.

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