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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Life has a way of getting out of control. Family commitments, bills, taxes, and then the unexpected happens that sets one back even more. Ethel had been looking after her granddaughters since their parents had died tragically in an accident. While she was working, there was a steady income. And they always had the family homestead. But now Ethel’s in her seventies, living off old age social security payments and struggling to make ends meet. Her oldest granddaughter, Parker, is working a minimum wage job to help out. But it’s not enough. Not when Ethel has an accident that hospitalizes her, adds to her medical bills and there’s an overdue property tax bill to pay before the house and property, their home, gets auctioned off. Parker takes on more hours, but it’s not enough. She enters a cooking contest, and it’s still not enough. Just days before Christmas and, instead of stuffing gifts underneath a Christmas tree, Ethel and her granddaughters are looking for a new home. Unless…
Obelia Akanke’s Christmas novel, The Family Gift, is a charming story about family love and loyalty. It’s a heartwarming story with no romance, just the charm of a strong family bond and the realization that all that really matters in life is your family, your health and your home. The family connection, the lifeline bond, is so aptly described in this story, as the author frequently compares it to the family homestead. When Parker says, “Our home has character. There are so many stories within these walls…so much history living with us. Do you know how many people would be envious of us?” she’s speaking from the heart about family, family history, family stories, and everything that works together to bind. The plot is well developed; the characters are well defined. This is a truly comfortable read, one to be enjoyed at any time but especially at Christmas, the time when family love is immortalized.