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by Melody Carlson

Shortly after her mother's death, Christine is surprised to learn that she was adopted, and as she digs into her biological family, she reveals a shocking lineage--will she be able to come to terms with the past, take hold of the present, and look forward to a brighter future? Original.
Download The Gift of Christmas Present epub
ISBN: 0800718674
ISBN13: 978-0800718671
Category: Literature
Subcategory: United States
Author: Melody Carlson
Language: English
Publisher: Fleming H Revell Co; First Edition edition (August 1, 2004)
Pages: 204 pages
ePUB size: 1876 kb
FB2 size: 1847 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 951
Other Formats: txt lit rtf doc

Christine Bradley's father had told her she was adopted not long after her mother had died, and she was stunned. When she finds out her grandmother lives in the same town where she attends college, she goes to see her. But, the forceful lady takes Christine for someone applying for the job of housekeeper, and she can't get a word in edgewise. She ends up as the housekeeper over Christmas break. She comes to appreciate her grandmother, even if she does have to have her own way, and she gladly takes care of her. There are shocking information to be discovered and family secrets that have long been buried. How will it all play out, and can they truly put aside hurts to become a family?

I really liked Christine; Jimmy, her grandmother's stepson; and even Esther, the temperamental grandmother. Felicia, Jimmy's wife, was something else. The family dynamics were interesting, but the secret was pretty shocking, especially in a Christian novel. At least it had happened in the past, so the reader doesn't see it take place. Personally, I would have liked it better if there had been a love interest for Christine, but I still enjoyed the story.
I think this story might have been more effective if it were longer. It seemed that when the family learned the shocking secret of what the long-dead husband/brother/father/grandfather had done, they forgave too easily. God forgives the most heinous sins immediately upon repentance; usually it takes us humans a little more time. And what this family had to forgive was abhorrent. Only his words to his sister at the end of his life that he was at peace with God gave any indication that the man had repented. Of course, we should forgive someone who has wronged us even if they don't repent; otherwise, the resentment and hate will destroy us. But it's not so easy that most of us, even the most devout Christians, can learn of a terrible betrayal and in a few hours be completely at peace with it. The story would have been better and more realistic if at least some of the family struggled and prayed passionately before they were able to forgive. Maybe one or two would have been able to forgive and be happy for what came out of the evil act, but wife, sister, children, and grandchildren all forgave after at most a temper tantrum. The happy ending came just a little too quickly.
Handling a difficult subject with delicacy and sympathy Melody Carlson delivers a beautiful story of a families redemption and renewal. When Christine Bradley finally gained the nerve to visit her natural grand-mother during Christmas vacation from her college she never expected to end up working as her housekeeper for the holidays.

Esther Daniels has sprained her ankle and needed help with her personal care as well as her house. When Christine arrived she made the assumption that she was the person hired to be her housekeeper and immediately initiated the interview without listening to Christine's explanations. Since she couldn't get a word in Christine decides to go along with the mistake and see what her grand-mother is really like. After all she is the reason her natural mother left home and ended up with the Bradley's who later adopted Christine.

Christine finds out more that she could ever have imagined, she begins to like her grand-mother and Esther actually begins to like the young lady who is such a thoughtful and competent housekeeper. When the truth comes out, that are a lot of confessions and Christine finally learns the story of why her mother left home on her own to delivery her baby without help from her prominent family.

This story was definitely not a topic I would have picked for a Christmas story but I works and the story was beautiful and caring. This will be one I'll read each year.
This was a story that took me by surprise, as I was expecting a nice light Christmas story, full of Christmas cheer. Instead I discovered a very well written story of a young woman trying to find her real family, when she finds she has been adopted. Was she raised in a good and loving home? Yes. Was she unhappy with her life? No. But when her father who raised her tells her about the adoption and gives her the town her real mother was raised in, she sets out to find some answers.
Christine Bradley knocks on the door of Esther Daniels, her biological grandmother, hoping to meet her for the first time. When “grumpy” Mrs. Daniels answers, she assumes Christine is there in answer to her ad for someone to come and assist her while she recovers from an ankle injury. Not giving Christine an opportunity to explain who she really is, the beginning of a chance to get to know her grandmother begins, but it begins by being dishonest about who she really is. Christine will try to discover what, where and how her biological Mom lived before she ran away, had Christine, gave her up and then passed away. In the midst of caring for her grandmother she will come to love her, but in the process she will need to tell her the truth. What she will discover about her Mom and the background of why her Mom ran away will surprise you, at least it did me. But the “gift of Christmas present” that everyone receives filled my heart with tears and joy.
There was some disturbing findings in this story. There was tears shed, but they were tears of sorrow and of joy. The author took a difficult subject, made a wonderful story and showed how God can work all things out for good, even when we can’t imagine how. Bad things do happen, but God is a loving God, who can take the bad that people do, and work them for good.