Finding Father Christmas/ Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn – Book Review

Finding Father Christmas/Engaging Father Christmas  By  Robin Jones Gunn

Published By  FaithWords/Center Street   06 September, 2016

Genres:  Romance, Religion and Spirituality

Pages:  352

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

In FINDING FATHER CHRISTMAS, Miranda Carson’s search for her father leads her unexpectedly to London with only a few feeble clues as to who he might be. Immediately welcomed into a family that doesn’t recognize her, and whom she’s quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both herself and the family she can’t bear to leave.

In ENGAGING FATHER CHRISTMAS Miranda Carson can’t wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she’s sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation. But Miranda’s high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian’s father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda’s mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost. And yet . . . maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

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Story Notes

Robin Jones Gunn’s first two books in her Father Christmas series are great holiday stories that are not to be missed.

I’m always been a fan of Christmas themed stories that include heart and a telling of reconciliation and redemption. Ms. Gun brings such joy and homey-ness to this series and I was thrilled to be able to review it. Miranda is a young woman who has been looking for family all her life. Although she had her mother until age 10 that relationship was one of instability and controlled chaos with spoken love thrown in as an effort to cover the majority of time spent working. Having grown up on charity from others Miranda has learned to depend on herself for what she needs or wants. Now, years later, Miranda has found a clue as to whom her father may have been and comes to the small village of Carlton-Heath to see if she can find him. I was fully engaged in this book and its excellent characters almost immediately and read the whole book to the end in just two sittings. Ms. Gunn created a kind, intelligent and very vulnerable character in Miranda, who was searching for what we all seek: a family and place to belong. It was wonderful to read a story of a meaningful time in this character’s life and I found it a good reminder to cherish all those we hold dear and to welcome those who may join our family. I felt like I was walking alongside Miranda as she went about trying to find her father and was thrilled when she also found the most important of relationships – the one with her heavenly Father. Ms. Gunn wrote Miranda’s search for God and her conversion in such a powerful way that I found myself with tears of joy falling over the joy and belonging Miranda found with Jesus. And when she finally gained the courage to tell her family all she had discovered about her father, I loved her grace and kindness in the face of their unkind and mean accusations. She was willing to step out of their lives and go back to her life if it would make things easier – no matter the pain it caused her. And because of this I was very happy to see them welcome her somewhat in the first story and even more so in the second. The second story in this book was a really lovely continuation of the first with Miranda finding love with the MacGregor’s son Ian. She has visited several times since her initial visit and hopes that she and Ian will be able to make their relationship permanent soon. But then Ian’s father has a heart attack and Ian must step up to play Father Christmas in the village’s annual show, making their time together limited. And Miranda is also receiving a cold shoulder from the matriarch of her father’s family which makes the possibility of staying in Carlton Heath seem an uncomfortable reality. Add to this the discovery by the press of Miranda’s identity and you have a story that seems to be too big a mess to sort out happily for everyone. I was very pleased that Ms. Gunn did not shy away from the messy and hurtful parts of this type of story. She was very real and honest with her characters and let them show the emotions that most people would exhibit given the circumstances they were experiencing. I was thrilled to see the ending of this book included the full welcoming of Miranda to the Whitcombe family. It made Miranda’s choice of staying in Carlton Heath a real possibility and helped her relationship with Ian become even better with their engagement. And this caveats nicely into the third book of the series – Kissing Father Christmas – which is wonderful!  Ms. Gunn included so many “British-isms” making the book even more enjoyable for me personally. I love the British culture and the many traditions they participate in each day – but none more so than their Christmas traditions. I loved to read of their meals and all the meanings behind what was served or included on the tablescape. I really enjoyed reading of the annual telling of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Story that was a big plot point in this series. It was fun to imagine the different ways in which it was presented and those who participated in the play – from the entire cast being children one year to the entire cast being those over 60 the next. And it was these many lovely tellings of this classic story that Ms. Gunn  used to bring back Miranda’s love of theater that died with her mother. I highly recommend reading this book and will pass it on to my family and friends. And I have also watched the Hallmark movie that was based on this book which, while good, does not compare with the descriptive writing and well developed characters seen in the actual book.  I’m most certainly looking forward to Ms. Gunn’s next works.

This E-book was provided to me free of charge by FaithWords/Center street via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

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