13 June 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Reviews Dan Walsh's "The Unfinished Gift"



Audio review of “The Unfinished Gift” 
by Dan Walsh
(Revell/Oasis, 2010)

5 Stars *****

Easy and Compelling Listen

I listened to this book as a download through audible.com where I have a platinum membership.  I was sick when I listened to over half of it and was I ever glad that I had it.  This is a nostalgia book, i.e., it is not set long enough ago to be a historical nor recently enough to be a contemporary.  I imagine most people would say I am wrong and that this is a historical. So be it.

Having listened to the second book in the series first, I was expecting some sort of romance. I am bad about listening to things out of order.  This was an instance where the first book probably should have been read first.
 
The story is almost a men’s fiction, as the three generations relationships were pivotal to the storyline.  We have an estranged WWII pilot, Shawn Collins, whose wife has just died leaving behind their young son, Patrick.  The paternal grandfather, Ian Collins,  is the closest living relative but he has never even seen his grandson.  He’s a bitter, grumpy old widower with few redeeming qualities.  Rigid is his middle name. He doesn’t deserve to have this sweet little boy in his home.

A social worker, Katherine Townsend, who is assisting with the Collins child, has become emotionally involved with the boy.  An orphan herself, Katherine finds the irascible elder Collins undeserving of having his grandson in his custody. When Patrick goes missing, near Christmas, they must pull together to bring the child home safely.

I felt Patrick Collins was the most engaging character in the story.  I wanted to know more about Katherine and I was dying to see Ian have some of his crustiness ripped away, which kept me listening. I don’t normally read this type of book. However, I think this is a great audiobook, especially for someone who is ailing.  It is an easy and compelling listen.


Roger Mueller, the narrator, was amazing. He was perfect for this book, capturing the nuances of each character's voice.


Note: The Unfinished Gift was Dan's debut book and won two prestigious Carol awards through ACFW.  

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of this author’s books, choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format not as a paperback.




40 comments:

  1. I really enjoy Dan Walsh's books, I'm looking forward to his newest one. Have a blessed day and thank you for the great review.

    Sandee61

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  2. SANDEE, Welcome! Thanks so much. I love getting blessings! Glad to meet one of Dan's fans here. Best wishes on possibly winning his new one in our contest, too!

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  3. I love Dan Walsh's books The Unfinised Gift was a young boy who's mother had died- he is thrust into his grandfathers care- because his dad is MIA!!! The grandfather had not spoken to his son in years- the little boy reminds the grandfather so much of his own son!!! Will the grandfather continue to care for his grandson?? Will the grandson be happy?? Will the Grandfather ever come to grips with his relationship with his son that is MIA??? This whole story had me riveted from the first page- really touched my heart!!! I will say one of the best books I have ever read- I feel as if God was truely working through Dan Walsh with this book that he wrote!!! Very amazing book!!!

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  4. Wow, HELEN, your comments sound exactly like someone's review I read. LOL, was it yours from Amazon? Thanks so much for coming by and sharing!

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  5. CARRIE, thanks for the great review of the audio version. Sorry you were sick at the time. I loved listening to this, too. Cindi and I did while traveling. I totally forgot I had written it, felt like we were listening to an old timey radio show. I loved how the actor changed up the voices for the different characters. Even the Italian one, for Mrs. Fortini (one of my favorite characters in all my books).

    I'd definitely agree that these 2 stories work best when read in order. I wished the publisher had put the word "sequel" on the cover to The Homecoming, so people would know. And I'd also agree, the first is more a story of family reconciliation, the love story is the 2nd one.

    Dan

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  6. HELEN, what a touching review. Thanks for the kind words. I really did feel like the Lord gave me that story. Almost came to me fully formed, dropped into my mind over 2 days time. Of course, it took me months to write it after that. But a definite labor of love.

    Dan

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  7. I am looking forward to reading his books and it would be nice to listen to them, too. Thank you for the review!

    Blessings, Janice

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  8. would love to read dan's novels...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  9. An excellent review, Carrie! I love family-come-together stories and this book sounds like it involves lots of heartbreaking regret and redemption, which usually means a sweet and satisfying ending. :-) I'm so glad you're feeling better now!

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  10. KARENK...thanks for stopping by and good luck! :)

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  11. KATHY..thanks for stopping by the blog...I agree with you Carrie is a great reviewer! :)

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  12. A really great review, CARRIE! KARENK, here's hoping for a win for you. Thanks for coming by!

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  13. KATHY, thank you for your interest in Dan's books, and for your kind remarks addressed to CARRIE.

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  14. TERESA and DIANA, KATHY is a fabulous reviewer over at USA Today. She and her co-reviewers run a great blog called Happily Ever After. It covers all romance, including all subgenres of romance. But KATHY has reviewed some of the Christian romances and does a great job. So great to see you here KATHY!!! Kathy is a debut author with a release out through Harlequin early July. It looks really good, too!

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  15. TERESA and DIANA, thanks so much for coming by and helping me out, too!

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  16. KATHY, you've hit it on target about the book "involving lots of heartbreaking regret and redemption, which usually means a sweet and satisfying ending."

    I definitely like to end my stories with big doses of hope. Everything is not always tied up in neat little bows, but I really do want the reader to turn the last page with a sigh, not melancholy and depressed.

    Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with your debut novel!

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  17. You're welcome, CARRIE. We both got the same idea at the same time, though. lol!

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  18. Hi, I have not read this one yet but looks like a good story and I will have to put it down to read , I have not read too many authors that are men but 2-3 of them. Dan Walsh is going to be one on my list now, thanks for sharing this review.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  19. CARRIE, forgot to mention, you did a phenomenal job summarizing this book in your review. That's hard to do, covering so much ground in a few paragraphs without giving too much away.

    It's especially impressive considering it's not the kind of book you typically read.

    Dan

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  20. Thanks PAULA for stopping by. I hope I make that short list called "male authors I love to read."

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  21. Thanks for jumping in DIANA & TERESA. Haven't 'met' you yet. You all have developed quite a lively blog!

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  22. Thanks, DAN, usually I get in trouble for "spilling the beans" about plot points. Diana and I have been taken to task over that a couple of times. We try to put spoiler alerts up.

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  23. PAULA!!! Good to see you here! You really have to read or listen to this book. It won two Carol awards. I probably should go up and put that in the post. But right now, as DAN and I commented on earlier, I have the tired old cowboy (also AKA Tired Old Mommy) thing going on and I don't feel too elegant (or coherent!) at all.

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  24. Hi Dan, I have not read either book but have on my wish list and looking forward to reading. I love audio books so winning this would be great.
    I love books with family drama and reading how the family finally came together and worked out their differences.
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  25. Sounds like a great read and is on my list to read. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

    seventysevensusieq[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  26. CARRIE, awesome review girl! :)

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  27. Yes, it is, and I love reading those spoiler alerts and then get mad at myself when I do! Who can figure out a woman, DAN? How in the world do you write about us? ;)

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  28. DIANA, I won't say I fully understand women (who but God could?). But I had a marvelous mom who I was very close to growing up. Then I've had an amazing wife who's remained my best friend through 35 years of marriage. Together, we had the privilege of caring for my mom till she went home to be with the Lord a few years ago (got close to her all over again). God's just really put a burden on my heart to encourage and refresh women in my books. And to do my small part in helping them understand a little bit of the maze going on in men's minds at the same time.

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  29. Yes, men are a"maze"ing alright! Much more difficult to understand than us ladies. :) I'm sorry for your loss; Carrie and I both lost our moms around this time a couple of years ago. It was a hard thing, but we were both relieved they no longer had to suffer.

    And congrats on being married so long to your best friend! Hubby and I will be hitting 40 yrs and when everyone tells us we look too young to have been married that long I just tell them we got married when I was two yrs old and my parents had to sign. lol

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  30. DIANA, you are too funny! Even in AZ they didn't allow two-year-olds to marry! I've yet to figure out Jeff after twenty five years so since you and Paul have 15 years on us, I give up trying!

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  31. Yep, give up, CARRIE. It's useless and there are better ways to use our brain waves than to try and figure out men.

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  32. DAN, I am sorry for the loss of your mother. It is an awful feeling. So glad you got to spend time with her at the end. I think for men, losing their fathers is harder, in general, but not always. Our pastor lost his dad this past year and I know they were super close like I was with my mom.

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  33. MISS KALLIE, I love audiobooks, too, as you can tell! If you win, I'll get you an audiobook version of one of Dan's books. Will enter you in the contest!

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  34. SUSIEQ, welcome! We have a Suzie Q in my MidAtlantic Zone who does an awesome job in media promotions. They used to call me Susie when I was a kid. Susie Q only if they were teasing me!

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  35. Great review, Faye! This book sounds fantastic! I've heard great things about Dan's books and am looking forward to reading them.

    Blessings!
    Carla

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  36. DIANA AND CARRIE, Thanks for the words about my Mom. We were sad but also relieved. She really wanted to be in heaven with Dad, who died in 2000. And God granted her desire to go quickly without suffering.

    DIANA, can't believe you've been married 40 years. Congrats on that and not looking anywhere close to your age.

    CARLA, hopefully you'll win one here!

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  37. Ok, DAN, just for that compliment I will have to go order ALL of your books! For that and the fact that they all sound wonderful!

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  38. DAN, DIANA and I know what it is like to have lost both parents. It is weird being adult orphans. My dad died in 2004. My mom, sadly, was not granted her wish. She wanted me to tell anybody who would listen to not have the procedure done that she had.

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  39. I think Dan will be an addition to the "male authors I read" list... (no, I really don't have one, but it's not a very long one if I write it down... didn't realize that until lately). Thanks again for a great review/introduction to one of his books!

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