For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it’s looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can’t bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure they were strange-looking–some could be called downright ugly–but they were tradition. A tradition she’s heartbroken to miss this year.
With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan knows something must be done. And his only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments.
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 14 novels and 1 nonfiction devotional, including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and The Discovery. He has won 3 ACFW Carol Awards, 3 Selah Awards, and 3 times his novels have been named as finalists for RT Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year.
For those who haven’t read Dan’s books, reviewers often compare him to Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans. Although more recently, Dan has also started to pen suspense novels (like, What Follows After and When Night Comes). Dan has been writing fulltime since 2010. He and his wife Cindi have been married 38 years and have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren. They live in the Daytona Beach area, where Dan grew up. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter, read his blog, or preview all his books by visiting his website at http://danwalshbooks.com.
Dan Walsh has rocketed to the top of my book club’s favorite authors list with his books The Discovery, The Reunion and The Deepest Waters. We chose Keeping Christmas for our December discussion and I am so glad. This book hit me where I live. But although it focuses on empty-nesters Judith and Stan, there is something in this novella for all ages. This book gets a recommended read designation.
Judith and Stan’s grown children are flung far and wide and unable to make it home for Christmas this year. All of Judith’s memories seem to be tied to her kids and grands and it’s taking a toll on her. Depression has sunk in and no amount of Christmas cheerleading by Stan and her friend Betty seems to make an impression. Can Judith’s Christmas joy be restored?
All of my children are grown, but do not have families of there own (yet). And while I have never had to spend a Christmas without them, the last two Thanksgivings have found us minus one kid or another. I can see the writing on the wall and can remember the times my own family had to miss spending time with my parents or in-laws. Keeping Christmas was a good reminder of just where we get our Christmas joy. Judith’s struggles were very real. She didn’t want to be depressed, but all the same she was. I loved the steps she took to rekindle her spirit by focusing on others. It wasn’t an overnight process, but then it wouldn’t have been realistic if it was. Stan’s attempts to get Judith in the Christmas mood ranged from clueless, to sweet, to awesome. He gets a big A+ in the husband department. Other characters, such as Judith’s friend Betty and young mother Taryn, are an added treat in this quick read that will get you in the Christmas spirit too!
Another winner from Dan Walsh!
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(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)