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4 Stars Out Of 5
A good book to get you in the mood for Christmas
November 4, 2012
As a father myself, I have to say that I was completely drawn to this heart-stirring story about a father who will do anything necessary to be able to care for and provide for his child. The Ghost of Christmas Present is a well-written read with delightfully unique characters who are thoroughly entertaining and likable. Being a novella, the book is a quick read and I finished it in one sitting, and so I became easily absorbed into the story and into Patrick's struggles. I loved Patrick's passion for theater and enjoyed his unique perspective on life, drawing on his knowledge of Shakespeare to speak to the world around him. I was a little bothered that the front jacket of the book depicts Braden as age eight, and yet the first page refers to Patrick sharing a pop with his "ten-year-old son, Braden". Later in the story, it again switches to Braden being eight, then during the court scene he's suddenly ten. While this is really a minor detail, it is something that editors should catch in my opinion. Other than this, I was well pleased by the characterization, the swift dialogue, and the sense of suspense created in waiting to find out whether Patrick would be able to keep his son in his care.
Readers who are looking for a quick-moving, emotionally satisfying read to get them in the mood for Christmas should plan on picking up this book from talented authors Abbott and Swinton. I give it a solid recommendation and 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
A Christmas Carol in a contemporary novel! 5 Stars
November 3, 2012
I am always so thankful for the fall because it always brings such great Christmas stories to print and The Ghost of Christmas Present by Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton is a perfect novel to read to bring about the sense of hope, love and peace just in time for Christmas. This is a combination of Mrs. Doubtfire mixing with the right amount of Miracle on 34th Street. We are immediately introduced to Patrick Gutherie, a single father to his young son Braden, who has recently been diagnosed with similar heart condition that has taken the life of his mother and Patrick's wife, Linda. How is it possible that he is about to lose the only other person in the world after trying to move forward after the death of his wife and soulmate. It's only a matter of time before Braden will join his mother and Patrick will be left all alone.
When Patrick receives an emergency phone call from the hospital while teaching his drama class in college, he fears the worst. He arrives at the hospital and immediately learns that Braden might have a chance at a new life and possibly reverse his heart condition. Finally the break he's been searching for. As he prepares for Braden's upcoming surgery, he learns that he has been laid off from his teaching position due to cutbacks and worse yet, his father-in-law Tom Cake, has filed a custody hearing to assume responsibility for the care of raising young Braden. Tom has long since held Patrick responsible for the death of his daughter and wants to ensure that the same doesn't happen to Braden. Now facing the scrutiny of a Child Protective Services worker, Rebecca Brody , Patrick must find a job and be able to get current on his rent, utilities and have money in the bank otherwise he will lose custody of his son.
Faced with losing his son just when a Christmas miracle has presented itself, Patrick must find a way to make money and fast. His only options seem to be his love of Shakespeare and theater and his ability to act. Is it possible to find a way to make enough money to save his son. Will there be a Christmas miracle after all on 34th street? Or will Patrick lose the only thing keeping him alive in this world and watch his scrooge of a father-in-law gain custody of his son forever?
I received The Ghost of Christmas Present compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review and was hooked from the first page. I couldn't wait to see how this one would work out and finished it in a matter of a couple of hours. It was that good. I love the creativity that Patrick used to step outside the box and utilize his acting talents to find a way to bring money in to keep the lights on, and a roof over his head. He did what I believe most parents would, and that's whatever it takes to make sure your kids are well cared for and loved. Braden truly admires his father and despite all the stress in his own life with his heart operation, Braden can see his dad's true feelings and knows something is wrong even though Patrick won't share everything. He attempts to find a way to keep a positive spin on everything that is going on and in the midst of it all, changes the lives of every single person he encounters. This one rates a perfect 5 out of 5 Christmas stars and HIGHLY recommend this one to anyone looking for a feel-great Christmas novel!
Patrick Guthrie's eight-year-old son needs a heart operation. Braden has an enlarged heart - the same condition that caused the death of Patrick's wife several years ago.
When Patrick returns to his high school classroom after the Thanksgiving vacation, he finds it empty. He and a few other teachers have been let go due to budget cuts.
Patrick is desperate. He has used up all of his financial reserves on his son. And then the child protection agency representative is at his door. He has just a few weeks to pay off the past due rent and utilities and have proof of employment. Otherwise Braden will go to the care of his rich father-in-law, a man who hates Patrick and is probably behind the attempt to take Braden.
To what lengths will Patrick go to make sure he can continue to care for the son he loves so much?
What a wonderful novel of parental love. Patrick is willing to make a fool of himself on the streets of New York City in order to keep custody of his son. He is willing to give of himself to others even when he himself is in such a time of need.
One theme in this novel is that of having a gift but then, because of parental or social pressure, not using that gift. We also see that lives can be changed when touched by the giving spirit of another.
There is no overt Christianity in this book. There is no gospel message. But there is the message of selfless giving and of lives being changed because of it. Lovers of Shakespeare will be delighted by the book, as will those who love Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.