Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dan Walsh's The Unfinished Gift ~ Reviewed

The Unfinished Gift
By Dan Walsh
Published by Revell, Sept. 2009
ISBN 978-0-8007-1924-1


Patrick Collins is seven years old, and on his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And for reasons eve her doesn't understand, he wants the soldier that's tucked away in his grandfather's attic.


Set in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is an engaging story of broken relationships and sorrow. Patrick is the age when a child still forgives easily and responds to love without reserve. While Walsh portrays that side, we also see Patrick as a little boy moved by a child's whims.

Patrick's grandfather is a bitter man who has cut off his son and his family. When Patrick arrives on his doorstep, he has no idea what to do with him. The child's very presence brings to the surface long-buried pain.

The social worker assigned to Patrick's case has fallen in love with the little boy. I don't like to give much of the story away in reviews but allow the reader to experience what I have as the story unfolds. Suffice it to say, Walsh resisted romantic clich├ęs.

What he did do is make me cry and rob me of a good night's sleep. I couldn't put the book down. The Unfinished Gift is a satisfying, nostalgic read, one of forgiveness and restoration, of hope and faith. An exquisite debut novel. Novel Journey/Reviews gives it 4½ stars.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, editor, Novel Journey

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