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    This is a new Christmas favorite!

    I absolutely LOVE this story! The main characters are some of the most well written ones I’ve ever met. I felt an almost immediate connection especially with Judith. My heart was breaking for her throughout most of the story. There were some wonderful discussion about how disappointments in how family relationships can develop. They can affect people for the rest of their lives. This is so much a part of life for everyone. I found the way it was handled and how close friends stepped in to help very encouraging. We can all learn something from this wonderfully heart-warming story. I may very well find myself re-reading this book every year. This story would make a great Christmas movie. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
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    Keeping Christmas has a predictable ending!

    Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh is his Christmas book for 2015. Judith Winters is in a funk. She just experienced her first Thanksgiving without her children or grandchildren. She is used to having them around, but now they have all moved away. Judith just found out that none of them will be coming for Christmas. Her normal tradition for Black Friday is to decorate the house in the morning and the tree in the afternoon (with the help of her children and grandkids). This year she just does not want to do it. Her husband spends the day after Thanksgiving fishing for bass with his friend, Barney and then he comes home to a lunch of leftover turkey. He puts the tree up and gets out the decorations for the tree. Stan (her husband) then heads to Big Bass Pro to take advantage of the deals (so helpful). He arrives home at lunch to find none of the decorations up. He does not understand his wife’s attitude (he actually enjoyed the quiet Thanksgiving). He proceeds with his plans completely oblivious excited to check out some great equipment that he and Barney would like to get for the new boat they are planning to get. Judith’s funk is just getting worse. She feels like her life is meaningless without her family around. She said that she is not a mother or grandmother anymore (that did not make sense). Her friend, Betty (Barney’s wife) tries to cheer her up. Slowly Stan notices that his wife is not improving. He tries to get her interested in a new hobby, helps her decorate for Christmas, and takes her out to eat. Betty gets Judith involved in starting a create-an-ornament class for mother and daughters at the local craft store (they sell ornaments and materials). Stan talks to each of his children to see if they can come home. None of them have the extra money to pay for airfare. Stan knows he is going to have to do something drastic to help his wife. I found Keeping Christmas to be extremely depressing. This book put me in a funk! Dan Walsh has a great writing style, but I just did not enjoy the book. I was hoping there would be a good lesson on getting pasty empty nest syndrome and not relying on your children to define you as a person. There is a little at the end as Judith tries some techniques she read about in a magazine, but overall I was disappointed with Keeping Christmas. This book definitely did not put me in the mood for Christmas (I am actually glad Christmas is still a few months away). The ending was predictable. You know what is going to happen from early in the book. I received a complimentary copy of Keeping Christmas from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my won.

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