For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure they were strange-looking--some could be called downright ugly--but they were tradition. A tradition she's heartbroken to miss this year.
With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan knows something must be done. And his only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments.
Fan-favorite Dan Walsh invites readers to enjoy this nostalgic Christmas story that celebrates all of our most cherished seasonal traditions, especially the importance of family. Readers will join in remembering the things that make their own Christmas season so special.
In some aspects this was a hard read for me. Judith isn't handling being an empty-nester during the holidays. She's in a blue funk for most of the story and I found the first half the book just plain depressing. Judith is wallowing and Stan is clueless and I pretty much wanted to wash my hands of them both. Of course, that's the problem with depression -- there isn't an easy fix and it affects everyone around you.
Still, there are too many similar scenes illustrating how depressed Judith is. Keeping Christmas is a shorter length novel (215 pages) but I feel like it would make a better novella -- where those scenes could have been tightened up quite a bit, achieving the overall mood without being so oppressive.
I have read most of Dan Walsh's books and been enamoured with them all, but I found this one missing the depth and complexity of his other work. Things don't pick up until well into the second half of the book. Judith begins to discover who she can be outside of a mother and grandmother and takes some steps towards change. Stan gets inspired and plans a Christmas to be remembered and, while the ending is predictable, it definitely redeems the story.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Please note: giveaway is for a gently read hardback copy of the book.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Keeping Christmas please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday November 21 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!