The Gift

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
222 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Write when you can, love all the time, smile at everything that's good in life...

I have been writing for over 30 years now, for my children when they were little and for papers magazines and now books... I chose Lulu as I had the control over everything...Even though I have been published traditionally.

The stigma of self-publishing is a silly one, as if its good it will sell., if it isn't it won't, as simple as that..

I write for the love of writing...I give most of the proceeds to charity.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

The Gift by Julie Hodgson is a wonderfully humorous story about a man and his monster-in-law. Joe and his wife, Beth, are in love and are very happy. After eight years of marriage, they are finally going to have a baby. They are both delighted that Beth's due date is two days after Christmas. They both love the Christmas holiday season and are celebrating it to the fullest. Happy and excited as the joyful day approaches, Joe is given the bad news. Beth's mother is coming to spend the holiday week with them. The woman hates him and never lets him forget it. Two days into her visit, Joe runs away from home to escape from the wretched beast for a while. Joe does a little shopping, and has the bright idea of visiting Santa in the grotto at the shopping center to get a gift for the baby. Joe jokingly tells Santa that he wants his problem to disappear. Santa is sympathetic and gives Joe a gift to be opened only if he is pushed beyond his resistance. Unfortunately, the wrong person opens the gift and Beth vanishes. Joe and his mother-in-law have to work together to bring Beth and their unborn baby back safely. Can the monstrous woman set aside her hatred long enough to help Joe or will his family be lost forever?

The Gift by Julie Hodgson is a wonderful Christmas story with a sense of humor. It is about putting aside differences and working toward a common goal in the name of love. This lovely story is told in a warm and humorous fashion while getting across a meaningful message. Joe's monster-in-law is the epitome of a fiend from the netherworld. With her fire-orange hair and her branding tongue, she makes his life a living hell. Despite her antipathy for him, Joe overcomes her enmity with the immense love he has for his wife and his unborn child. It is a memorable Christmas story similar to "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", with love overcoming the evil villain's cold heart, but it is much better. I intend to keep this book in my Christmas library and will be reading it every year. If you love Christmas, you will love this story!

Deborah Lloyd

The perfect Christmas tale can be found in the charming little novel, The Gift: Be Careful What You Wish For, written by Julie Hodgson. Joe and Beth are preparing for the birth of their firstborn child, Devon, due a few days after Christmas. Madge, Beth’s caustic mother, is visiting them for a week; she has an especially antagonistic view of her son-in-law. But this year, Joe is trying his best to keep the peace, even as Madge spews out one negative comment after another towards him. Joe decides to leave their home for a few hours to complete some Christmas shopping. A visit to the mall’s Santa Claus changes everything. Santa gives Joe two special gifts – one for the new baby, and another to make his problem disappear. This second gift leads to a taxing adventure – and a Christmas miracle.

This is the season for a meaningful and quick read. Author Julie Hodgson presents a delightful holiday story in her fictional work, The Gift: Be Careful What You Wish For. The story engages the reader from the first page until the last. For many readers, the story line may seem familiar, as trying family dynamics can be part of the holiday season. The characters are believable and realistic. As Joe discovers the reasons beneath Madge’s difficult personality traits, he grows in understanding and compassion. The reader has to cheer for a happy solution! While the book flows smoothly and quickly, it delivers a thoughtful and enriching message – the special ingredient for a wonderful holiday book.

Jack Magnus

The Gift is a humorous holiday fantasy written by Julie Hodgson. Joe loved Christmas. It was the holiday that he really looked forward to; however, this one had the potential of being a nightmare. He loved his wife, and he couldn't wait until she gave birth to their child, which would happen any day now. But her mother was an entirely different matter. The MIL, as he liked to think of her, was a dragon with purple makeup and bright orange hair. She never had a good word to say to him, no matter how hard he tried. They seemed to get along best by never being in the same room, and now she was going to be living in their home for the entire Christmas week. No amount of cajoling, bargaining and flat-out whining seemed to make any difference either. Beth's mind was made up and the MIL was going to stay the week.

When she arrived, she immediately made a point of breaking the jingle-bells door chime Beth and Joe had installed. However, it was when she changed the oven setting on Joe's chocolate Christmas Log so it burnt, and surreptitiously added salt to the batter, that Joe had had enough. He rushed out of the house in his shirtsleeves, too upset to even feel the cold, and then went for some retail therapy. Dreading his return home, he stopped by the mall for a gift for the soon-to-be newborn, and found himself in a very odd place indeed with a Santa he’d never seen before. That Santa actually gave him a present that could make his MIL disappear, though he did warn that it was only to be used in the direst of circumstances. In any event, Santa assured him that it would do the trick.

Julie Hodgson's contemporary holiday fantasy, The Gift, is disarming and fun as the two sworn enemies, Joe and Madge, find themselves having to cooperate to recover Beth, who mysteriously disappeared. While their circumstances may seem dire, the story retains throughout a warm and fuzzy Christmas feel that works perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the magical aspects of the story surrounding Santa and the trail of clues which set Joe and Madge off on a Scavenger Hunt of sorts with Beth as the final prize. Joe is a marvelous main character whose love of baking and occupation as a primary school teacher makes him just a bit different than your typical male lead, and Madge is, well, Madge. This well-written, breezy and fast-paced story is a joy to read, especially during the holidays. The Gift is most highly recommended.

Trudi LoPreto

The Gift by Julie Hodgson was the perfect book to start the Christmas season. Joe and Beth are happily married and expecting their first child. Joe loves the Christmas season and is excited to be decorating, cooking, and watching “It’s a Great Life,” snuggled on the couch with Beth. Beth thinks this year that her mother (aka the mother-in law from hell) should come and spend a week sharing in their Christmas joy. Unfortunately MIL (mother-in-law) hates Joe more than she hates anything else on this earth. Joe is disappointed, angry and upset with the plans, but vows to try to make the best of it.

As he flees the house to get away from MIL, he goes to the shopping mall, a place that will help him feel better, and decides that he will get in line to visit Santa, to get his soon to be born child their first gift. This is a Santa like none other and he gives Joe a very special gift that will make the problem of his MIL go away. What follows will make it impossible for you not to believe in the magic of Christmas, and be sure to put a smile on your face and a chuckle in your heart.

I really enjoyed this fast paced enchanted Christmas story. Julie Hodgson has written about a problem so many of us share – the evil mother-in-law - and made it both funny and touching. She has given us hope and optimism that maybe, just maybe, we can turn the evil into happy and learn to get along and love each other. The Gift is a fast read, only 228 pages, but it is filled with Christmas cheer. I highly recommend The Gift.

Alyssa Elmore

The Gift by Julie Hodgson is a humorous story about a Christmas wish gone wrong. Joe loves everything about Christmas. His very pregnant wife, Beth, shares Joe's almost childlike love for Christmas. As Christmas gets closer, Joe has mixed feelings. He may love the holiday, but he dreads the arrival of his expected visitor, Beth's mother, Madge. Madge has hated Joe from day one. No matter how hard he's tried, Joe can't get into Madge's good graces. With the baby so close to arrival, Madge insists on spending a whole horrific week with Joe and Beth. Can Joe keep it together and play nice? Or will Madge push him over the edge and ruin Christmas for everyone?

When Joe takes an unexpected shopping trip to escape the monster-in-law, he visits Santa. Santa seems to understand Joe's Mother-In-Law dilemma so he offers Joe a special gift, with explicit instructions: he may only give it to her when he finds things completely unbearable, and he must watch Madge open the package. Only, things go very wrong when Beth opens the gift instead. It is two days before Christmas and Joe finds himself living his worst nightmare - he is alone with Madge. What is even worse, Joe must do the impossible and join forces with his malicious mother-in-law in a race against time to figure out how to make things right and get Beth back before he loses his most loved. Can he and Madge put aside their differences? Or should he abandon all hope of ever getting his beloved Beth and their unborn baby back?

The Gift by Julie Hodgson is a funny, heartwarming Christmas story about love and second chances. I loved this book. It was both funny and touching. The characters were so easily relatable, I cried for, and laughed with, Madge and Joe. The author really knows her characters and understands human nature. This book has a great theme that made my heart sing with the hope and excitement of the holiday season. I would recommend this book to those that love the holidays, second chances, and Christmas miracles.