Jemm Frances Reads… The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

With Christmas just a matter of days away its about time I delivered a festive themed Jemm Frances Reads review.

At this time of year I always return to Charles Dickens’ Christmas Books to get me in the spirit of the season, A Christmas Carol has to be one of my favourite ever stories and reading my (almost) 120 year old copy of the book by the light of the Christmas tree has to be one of my favourite reading experiences. However, we all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, but do you know the story of Lou Suffern?

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Meet Lou Suffern, a successful businessman. Working in the city, driving a flash car and living in an affluent area of Dublin with his wife and two young children. Christmas is coming. What has Lou got to complain about, apart from the fact that there’s just never enough time?

24 hours in a day and still not enough time to impress the boss, make the deals, secure that promotion, socialise with colleagues and then go home and be a family man. Christmas is coming and Lou Suffern wishes he could be in two places at once.

Meet Gabe, the homeless man who sits below notice outside Lou’s office watching people’s shoes as they pass by. Thanks to an uncharacteristic act of kindness from Lou, Gabe gets a hot cup of coffee and a job in the mailroom. Christmas is coming and Gabe will return Lou’s favour by giving him a gift.

Surprised and irritated by Gabe’s intelligence and efficiency in the office Lou begins to regret his act of kindness, especially when it seems there’s something not quite right about Gabe, like the how he can appear to be in two places at the same time. So when Gabe offers Lou some pills to take is he trying to wreck Lou’s career and take his place? Or are they the gift that will finally make Lou appreciate the importance of time before it’s too late? 

Christmas is coming, and it’s about time.

I’ve read a handful of Cecelia Ahern’s books and have to admit to enjoying some more than others. The Gift is thankfully one of the stories that I feel well worth the read. The festive theme woven through this story makes it a perfect ‘curl up by the Christmas tree’ book and it makes a change from the usual xmas favourites. It would be easy to roll your eyes and cast this books off as just another adaptation of other seasonal stories such as ‘A Christmas Carol’ or ‘ It’s a Wonderful Life’ but really it’s quite different. To cast this offering aside would be to miss out. The Gift is a thoroughly modern tale and the only similarity to classic Christmas stories is the presence of a moral lesson to be learnt. 

Although at first it’s hard to like the leading character Lou Suffern by the end of the tale you find that you’re rooting for him.

I really liked the structure of this book, as it’s actually a story within a story. To begin with you meet a young boy who throws a frozen turkey through his fathers window on Christmas day. Sergeant Raphie takes the boy to the station and tries to make him see sense while waiting for his mother to arrive by telling him the story of Lou Suffern.

The Gift is a lovely easy read for over the festive period, filled with all the things you’d expect from a Christmas story. A sentimental page turner that once I’d started reading I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. 

Bookworm Business: Have you read The Gift? What’s your favourite Cecelia Ahern novel? What books do you like to read at Christmas?

Jemm xoxo

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