Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Gift: A Christmas Miracle by Joanne Clancy (Book Review)

The Gift: A Christmas Miracle by Joanne Clancy
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: November 2, 2014
Format: Paperback - 74 pages
             Kindle - 535 KB
ISBN: 978-1503069091
Genre: Christmas Themed Novella

BUY THE BOOK: The Gift: A Christmas Miracle

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with this heartwarming Christmas novella from best selling author Joanne Clancy ~ The Gift: A Christmas Miracle.

Julie wants only one gift this holiday season, but it’s going to take a Christmas miracle to make her wish come true.

Julie Hamilton loves Christmas. It’s her favorite time of year, from the cinnamon smell of freshly baked mince-pies to the excitement of buying gifts for family and friends, decorating the tree, and hanging stockings for Santa Claus on the mantelpiece. This Christmas promises to be extra special because she’s expecting the perfect gift--her first baby--on Christmas Eve. However, a chance encounter turns her world upside down, and soon, she’s praying for her very own Christmas miracle.

Can the spirit of the Christmas season and the kindness of strangers find a way to make her wish come true?

Book Excerpt:

London December 1990

The child was curled up in bed, singing a nursery rhyme and sucking her thumb. At two years old, almost three, she was a toddler who was turning into a little girl without anyone noticing.

The light brown hair that fell across her pillow had never been decorated with a ribbon. She was wearing grubby pyjama bottoms and a stained top. There were no pretty dresses hanging in her wardrobe. Two odd socks kept her feet warm.

On the floor, beside her bed, a cup was upside down, but it went unnoticed beneath the pile of old clothes. Her best friend in the whole world was her beloved baby doll, with tangled blonde hair, and blue eyes that closed when she laid her down.

She whispered her secrets to the doll as she covered her gently with the only blanket on the bed. “Mummy’s tired. Ssshh… ’Night, ’night.”

She snuggled up to her doll, and pulled the blanket over her head, so her two older sisters wouldn’t see her sucking her thumb. She didn’t want them to tease her for being a baby.

There wasn’t much love or stability in her life; her parents were alcoholics, and she could hear the fury of another argument raging downstairs. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and tried to block her ears from the sounds of crashing and yelling below. A door slammed, and the little girl started singing louder.

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Julie Hamilton loved Christmas. It was her favourite time of year with its roaring fires, frothy mugs of hot chocolate, mince pies, brightly coloured tinsel, and the excitement of last minute gift buying.

However, nothing was more beautiful to her than the excitement on her niece’s face on Christmas morning, and no sound was more angelic than that of her little voice singing carols and giggling through the lines of her school play.

Julie was crammed into a plastic chair beside her sister and brother-in-law, watching her niece perform at her Christmas play. Mothers and fathers, with their heavy winter coats and woolly scarves draped behind them, smiled and waved at their children as they took their places on stage. A few latecomers squeezed between chairs, apologising as they accidentally stepped on toes.

The school hall was packed to capacity, and the room hummed with noise and chatter. Temperatures outside were below freezing and the weather forecast was for a white Christmas. Inside was toasty warm.

Red and green tinsel adorned the walls, and a brightly decorated tree took centre stage at the top of the hall. The rich smell of coffee and hot chocolate filled the air, as the parents helped themselves from the huge urns stationed in the corner. The head teacher was struggling to get to grips with the overhead projector, ready to beam the words of the Christmas carols that would soon be sung off-key.

The room hummed with anticipation. Small faces peeped out behind the heavy, red velvet curtains that were drawn unevenly across the stage.

Costumes made from old clothes and sheets, were held haphazardly in place by belts that were too big. To Julie, the scene couldn’t have been more precious.

She gently patted her round stomach, knowing that in a few years, she would be proudly watching her own child on stage. Happiness surged through her. She was expecting her first baby–a Christmas baby, and she couldn’t wait to meet him. She squeezed her husband’s hand, and he looked into her warm brown eyes and smiled, knowing what she was thinking.

Everyone strained to catch a glimpse of their child. Mothers and fathers smiled widely, with eyes only for their little angel. It was a moment to be treasured. Relatives fumbled with their phones and video recorders, desperate to capture everything.

The microphone screeched as the head teacher welcomed the families, before the lights dimmed, and a hush descended on the hall. It was time for the show to begin. Everyone watched in rapt delight. Julie smiled indulgently at the child who sung the wrong words or forgot a line in the nativity scene; already imagining her son up there.

At the end of the show, she watched as the children came to say hello and hear how amazing they were. She even managed to give her beloved niece a quick hug. Love wasn’t a strong enough word to describe how she felt about the little girl, and she could only imagine how she would feel about her son when he was born.

She put a gentle hand on her swollen stomach, and felt the soft flutterings as her baby struggled to get comfortable. For months, she had watched and waited in awe. She couldn’t wait to finally meet him.

My Book Review:

The Gift: A Christmas Miracle is a wonderful Christmas novella that intertwines the mystery and miracle of the season when two women's worlds collide in a Dublin hospital.

Julie and Shane Hamilton are looking forward to the birth of their first baby due on Christmas Eve, a boy who will be named James Joseph after both of his grandfathers. The pending birth filled them with excitement and joy that they would be spending their first Christmas together as a family.

Casey had a troubled childhood with alcoholic parents in London. She grew up to be a troubled young woman, who married a man twice her age. It was a marriage filled with emotional and mental abuse. She had promised herself that she would never turn to alcohol like her parents, but she did. Last Christmas she suffered a miscarriage that completely broke her heart. Casey leaves London behind to restart her life in Dublin, she has a plan in place to not be alone on Christmas Eve, that plan was to take a newborn baby boy and make him her own.

When Julie has a complication in her pregnancy, her doctor decides to induce her labor on December 20th instead of the Christmas Eve due date. After forty-eight hours in labor, baby James is born on December 22nd. Julie and Shane look forward to taking their son home on December 23rd, but a woman posing as a nurse comes in to Julie's room and under the ruse of taking the baby for blood work, and walks out of the hospital with the newborn. Joy turns to fear for Julie and Shane as the police frantically search for baby James. As Christmas Eve approaches, will the spirit and magic of the holiday season bring the Hamilton's a Christmas miracle and the precious gift of their newborn son back to them?

Author Joanne Clancy weaves an emotional tale set in Dublin that easily draws the reader in as two women's worlds collide due to the birth of a baby boy. This novella spans the time period of five days (December 20 - 25) in which Julie and Shane are gearing up for the pending birth of their first born child, while Casey is putting her plan to kidnap a newborn baby boy into motion. The reader is taken on an emotional roller coaster ride as the joy of baby James' birth suddenly turns into a kidnapping and the ensuing frantic search for him takes place during the most joyful time of the year.

The author weaves an intriguing story told in the third person perspective that alternates between Julie, Casey, and Shane. You can't help but get caught up in the drama and emotion as the story unfolds. The author concludes this touching story with the important message of what the Christmas season is all about: filled with forgiveness, spirit, love, joy, hope and peace.

The Gift: A Christmas Miracle is a beautifully written holiday novella, that is perfect to read during the Christmas season.


About The Author

Joanne Clancy is an Irish mystery writer, from Cork, Ireland. She is an avid reader, a self-confessed Kindle addict, and a tea fiend! Joanne Clancy’s books combine murder, mystery, and suspense with a twist of psychological drama, and some romantic suspense for good measure! Her crime books have consistently hit the Amazon paid bestseller lists in Crime, Thrillers & Mystery.

Joanne’s bestselling crime novels include:

The Detective’s Wife 
If You Tell Anyone 
Killing Time 
Killer Friends 
A Daughter’s Secret 
The Offering 

The Gift: A Christmas Miracle is the latest release by Joanne Clancy. She is currently working on her twentieth book.



  1. Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog, Kathleen :) Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi Joanne! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review, & feature The Gift: A Christmas Miracle on my blog. :)