Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Unfinished Gift and the Homecoming by Dan Walsh

These two books were published in 2009 and 2010 by Dan Walsh, some the first ones he wrote. They are excellent books; they held my interest and I honestly could not put them down.

When I started The Unfinished Gift I knew I would not stop until I reached the end. It came in the mail at about noon and I finished it at 10:30 that night.
Of course, surely you know, I'm retired, and my husband knows how to cook! And it was a night with nothing on the calendar, nothing to prevent me from keeping on reading.

It was about a family at odds with each other. The father, Ian Collins, had disowned his son, Shawn, because he married a girl he didn't want him to marry. Shawn was in the army and it was December, 1943, Shawn's little seven year old boy, Patrick, was riding in the car with his mother when she was killed. So Patrick was taken to his grandfather's house, to a man who was not very nice to him. Ian had not spoken to his son since before Patrick was born and had never met Patrick. He called him "the boy" most of the way through the book because he could come to accept him as a real person. Ian did not want to come to terms with his feelings. He was mad and he wanted to stay that way. He ignored Patrick, yelled at him, and made him feel more alone.

The lady from child services, Katherine Townsend, tried to locate Shawn to tell him of his wife's death, and tried to protect Patrick from his grandfather. Meanwhile, Shawn was shot down over Germany while flying a plane and reported "missing in action."

When Ian got the telegram about his son, he began to think back, and his heart began to soften. Patrick steals the show in this book and in the next one.

The Unfinished Gift was a wooden soldier Patrick found in the attic. You'll have to read the book to see how this worked into the melting of Ian's heart. It's a wonderful story. This book was full of adventure from the first word.

The story continues in The Homecoming when Shawn returns home from the Army. This book contains a lot of history of the war, stories about bombing missions during World War II, stories about people and their hearts.

Shawn came home a hero. The story of his mission where he saved most of the members of his crew and got them home without being captured made world-wide news. Ian is impressed with this, so his heart begins to soften. He begins to realize how foolish he has been for the past eight years.

Shawn is still in the Army and is sent back, but with a different job. Still, however, he has to leave Patrick, so he hires Katherine to be his nanny; to get him to school, to see to his needs, and to help Patrick's grandfather.

I enjoyed both these books, but I liked the first one better. I'm glad I read them both, though, because it helped me see how a family at odds could come together again, and how God worked in people who didn't know Him to cause them to believe in Him.

Of course there is a happy ending. I'll let you guess what it is.  Or better yet, order these two books and read them for yourself. I can guarantee you won't want to put them down.

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