Monday, November 30, 2009

The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh, and a giveaway

Let me start out by saying if you read my reviews, you know I am always honest, and don't just give a glowing review to make the author and publisher happy. That said, I have to say this was an awesome read, one of the best Christmas books I have read in a long time - and I love Christmas books, so I should know.

The story is set in 1943, during World War II. Seven year old Patrick Collins has just been dropped off to live with a grandfather he has never met, while he waits for his father to come home from the war to rescue him from this mean old man who doesn't seem to want him around.

To make things worse, Patrick finds an unfinished gift in the attic, that the very mention of, sends his grandfather into a rage.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters - the heartbroken little boy, longing for his dad, the crusty, grumpy grandfather, long separated from his only son by angry words and unforgiveness, and the two very different women who befriend the boy, and try to make his life a little more bearable. I not only found myself smiling throughout the book, but - do I dare admit it - found myself wiping my eyes on occasion. I am not in the habit of giving books "stars" on my blog, but if i did, and 5 stars was the highest, then 5 stars it would get.

I read the book in one sitting - a great gauge of how well I like a book. I settled into

the Lazy Boy recliner, and dove into the book, and was not disappointed. I highly recommend the book. Check out how to win a copy. Oh, and good news - there is a sequel planned for June.

Read a sample here:

About the author:

Dan Walsh is the pastor of Sovreign Grace Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, a church he helped found 23 years ago. Walsh lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area. This is his first novel. Visit his website here:

The giveaway:

Courtesy of the author, someone can win an autographed copy of this great book for your very own. I usually run giveaways for ten days or two weeks, but I am doing this one for one week, to give more time to get the book in time to read it before Christmas.

To enter, comment with a favorite gift you received for Christmas. One week from today on December 7th, I will pick a winner, and Dan Walsh will mail the winner a copy of his book.

Thanks to Dan for agreeing to help me out with a giveaway, and to Donna from Baker Books for sending me a review copy. If you don't win the book, buy yourself a copy, curl up, and enjoy a great Christmas story.

Available October 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Annette W. said...

The gift that comes to mind is from when I was a child...though I wasn't "girly" my dad got my sister and me a big doll (maybe 2-2 1/2 feet) that wore a fancy dress. It was certainly played with and cherished.

Annette W. said...

Not a entry, but just wanted you to know that I went to Dan's blog and am looking forward to his next FIVE books! He just got a contract for more books, not just the follow up! You made this sound great! I also read the first ten pages at Amazon...and am hoping I win to read to the end.

Molly said...

Mark....this was a wonderful book! I loved reviewing this book! Loved your review!!

(This is not an entry!) Just wanted to stop by and tell my thoughts!

Blessings my friend!

Christy said...

My favorite gift was not one I received, but one I gave, sort of. A few years ago, when I was living in Indiana, about a year after Mike went to prison, I had a job that made it look impossible to come home for Christmas, of course this upset my mom terribly. Not just the fact that she would not see me, but the fact that I would be alone. a few weeks before Christmas I found out that I would get a couple extra days, so I could come after all. I did not tell my mom. I got in really late and stayed at my Uncle Tim's house, and then, with my dads help I slipped in unseen and was quickly covered up by a gift wrapped box. Imagine my moms surprise when she opened her gift and found me inside. (not that I am an amazing gift, but it was SOOOO much fun!)

Kimmy said...

I can't think of a favorite gift that stands out to me at the moment...however the thing I wanted most for Christmas this year, I got! A secure roof over our heads. If I get nothing else this year, I'll still be blissfully happy & thankful;-)

wmmahaney said...

My favorite gift would be hard to say. This year my husband is sending me and the boys home to be with my mom and my family for Christmas. My dad just passed away in September, and he knows how important it is for me to be with family. He is sacrificing Christmas with us (he has to work and my mom's is 14 hours away) so that I can be with my family.

Dan Walsh said...

Mark, I am deeply honored and humbled by your review. For an author (at least one like me) "it doesn't get any better than this."
Honestly, don't know what to say (and that almost never happens).

Annette, my favorite gift came in 6th grade. A big GI Joe (back when they were big...bigger than Ken) with a space suit and Mercury space capsule. It was way out of my parents' budget but they found the money somehow.

Buukluvr81, I hope to check out your site too. Trying to visit as many as I can (feel like I should be bringing cookies).

Christy, moments like that we never forget, no matter how many years pass. We did something similar for my mother-in-law when her son was away in the navy.

Kimmy, it's clear you have learned much about the secret of contentment already, a priceless gift in itself.

wmmahaney, It's SO good to hear stories of unselfish husbands. What he's doing is huge. I'm sure you're mom will be deeply touched.

Thanks again, Mark, for taking time to read the book and telling your readers about it. Hope you have a truly blessed Christmas!


Kim M. said...

I love Christmas stories! One favorite gift I have received as an adult was a sewing machine I got 2 years ago. I wanted one badly but we couldn't afford one. Michael made a huge sacrifice and sold his favorite hunting gun and surprised me. That is what made it mean so much.

Unknown said...

My favorite gift was a laptop:) Loved it and still do. Please enter me. Thanks!!

Winning Readings said...

One that comes to mind: A cool watch - back when the Swatch fad was going on. It was on a year where we did all our shopping and gift giving after Christmas so we could get everything on the after Christmas sales - with 5 kids, there wasn't a lot of money to go around.

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Milka said...

Which comes to my mind first is the Josh Groban collection CD I got last year. I still listen to it daily, it has such a good songs. And now when it Christmas I can listen to the Christmas songs from the CD.

Steve-n-Deb said...

My favorite gift would have to be a book -- Probably the one Debbie gave me a few years back comparing CS Lewis and Francis Schaeffer

Cherie J said...

A favorite gift would be the Barbie Town House I received as a child. It is one that meant so much because less than a year later our home burned down and it was the toy I was the toy I was devastated most about losing.


Virginia said...

I loved this book too!!

Carole said...

This book was already on my wish list, but after your review, I'm even more eager to read it.

My grandmother was a great cook, but mostly made up her own recipes. On the first Christmas after we were married, she gave me a cookbook with all her recipes painstakingly written out by hand. I will treasure this cookbook as long as I live, and I made my daughter a copy when she got married last year.

Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy of The Unfinished Gift.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Margie said...

A favorite gift was a GPS I received last year. Helped us from getting lost on some road trips.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Mark said...

Comment by email by Karen K who doesn't have a blogger account:
my favourite gift was an organ

Merry said...

My older brothers and sister made me a beautiful vanity with a bench and blue satin skirt when I was about 8. I loved it! Dan's books sounds wonderful, please include me in the drawing. Thanks!


Patti said...

The most precious gift I got for Christmas was my fourth son. He was born early on Dec 22 & I got to bring him home from the hospital on Christmas eve & was able to put together Christmas for my other children. He was a very fussy baby & cried most of the night Christmas eve so I put him by the tree to see the lights. That's how the children found us Christmas morning & they always say he is the baby Santa brought (sometimes they even want to send him back to the elves :) )

Caren said...

My favorite gift was a 14K gold charm on a chain that I got from my parents when I was 8 years old. I'm still wearing it today.