The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh is an unexpected treasure. Patrick Collins is having a terrible Christmas. His mother killed in a car accident, his father fighting the Nazis overseas, he's sent off to wait for his father's return with a grandfather, Ian, he's never met. Ian is Scrooge personified: angry at the world, curmudgeonly, stingy, and holding on to a burning anger at Patrick's father that spills over into his relationship with the seven-year-old Patrick. Kathleen Townsend, Patrick's social worker, is doing everything she can to care for the sweet little boy, but when bad news comes, no one can protect him from the consequences. Walsh's rendering of Ian is that of a harsh almost brutal man, who turned his back on anyone who refused to do things his way. Patrick is a lovely, sweet boy who wants nothing more than to please the adults around him, but there's no pleasing Ian. Walsh reminds readers that Christmas is a time of second chances and to offer forgiveness. Keep tissues handy while reading this one!
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