The Gift of Family by Mary Monroe

Successful, secure, and still very much in love, middle-aged couple Eugene and Rosemary Johnson have never given up on one special wish–to be parents. And while Christmas always brings happiness and a whirlwind of holiday fun, their hopes for children of their own seem further away than ever. Especially this year, when Rosemary must have emergency surgery and home help to recuperate. Wanting to lift his wife’s spirits, Eugene suddenly has inspiration from back in the day . . .

Faithful and sensible, Ethel Perkins raised Eugene and his brother. Unforeseen tragedy has left the sixty-something widow struggling with little money and two jobs to keep her great-grandchildren off the streets. She’s glad to help Rosemary back on her feet. But she can only stay until Rosemary is well enough to resume her normal routine. For Ethel, survival means keeping to her grueling schedule, being there for everyone but herself, and, as always, handling her troubles all on her own . . .

As Ethel’s problems go from bad to much worse, Rosemary and Eugene find themselves helping her more and more–and growing close to her lively youngsters. Soon, there’s only one way both families can salvage the season: by celebrating it together. But will their temporary family work into the future . . .  and possibly make a lifetime of happiness?

Title:  The Gift of Family
Series:
Author:  Mary Monroe
Genre:  Christmas Women’s Fiction
Published:  September 29, 2020
Publisher:  Kensington Books
My Rating:  4.5 stars

The Gift of Family was like stepping into the lives of people I know well, a comfortable, believable story that caught my attention early on and quickly captured my heart as the story of good, relatable people came to life.  (I don’t get mushy often during reviews, but I really enjoyed how this family and extended family were portrayed and slowly but surely came together as a whole unit.)

Now, I’m not going to say that everything within The Gift of Family is roses and sunshine – it’s not.  There are the sadness and pain of being childless when desperately wanting children and having to move on from that pain.  There are unexpected medical issues that have to be dealt with even when life says you cannot take the time for them… but must.  There are also people devoted to everyone but oneself and burning the candle at both ends to make ends meet and keep a family together.

I’m a caregiver to a much-loved member of my own family.  I’ve been the one needing care when I fought against it tooth and nail although eventually, I had to admit that I’m not always capable or able to “do everything” myself.  So, yeah, I “got” the situations portrayed in this story – and the pain, confusion, self-doubt, and eventual joy that also is apparent as an extended, perhaps even new family is formed.  And that is what you’ll find within the pages of The Gift of Family.  Certainly not perfect – but right for each other, and isn’t that what we all want in our lives?

Mary Monroe is a new-to-me author, and I will definitely be looking for more of her work.  If you love a story that touches your heart, gives you a few giggles and tears along the way, shows you how love works miracles even in the strangest of situations – then this is a book you’ll want this Christmas season, think of it as a gift to yourself, you deserve it.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher, Kensington Books via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story.  It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for your favorite e-reader, mine is the Kindle.

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