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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!