The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell
Publishing Date: 3rd November 2016
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 304
Genre: General Fiction, Holidays/Christmas
A puppy is for Christmas. A friend is for life. The heartwarming tale of a homeless puppy with a huge heart who healed a family . . .
When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he’s far too excited to worry about what lies ahead. But all too soon Teddy realises just how cold and scary the world really is, and what was supposed to be the perfect adventure now seems like a terrible mistake.
Then Teddy is discovered on a snowy doorstep by the Woods family. With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Claire, Ben and their daughter Emily are the family Teddy is desperate to have. But Emily is ill, her parents are stressed and, with Christmas around the corner, raising and training a well-meaning but unruly puppy is hardly a priority.
Teddy knows he and little Emily have a once-in-a-lifetime bond, and that he can be the best friend she needs in this dark time. If only he can prove to Ben and Claire how much happier he could make them all, Teddy might just find the family of his dreams this Christmas.
Oh guys, yes, I admit, it took me some time to decide if I want to read this book – you know, dogs in stories + moi = crying endlessly, no matter what the result, if happy or sad – but when I’ve seen this gorgeous, adorable cover and the puppy eyes, I was sold.
The author has brilliantly captured Teddy the dog and his personality, and she perfectly well knew when he should wag his tail or hide behind a chair – she really knew what she was writing about and Teddy was so close to life! I loved how his little heart was full of love and adoration and how well Ms Bell put in words his thoughts and the way he perceived the world of two – legged creatures. She wonderfully described all the antics and shenanigans and troubles Teddy put himself into and I could only sigh with understanding as I also been there, seen this, experienced it all. It was so touching to see and hear how much he tried his best, how much he tried to behave and how often it all went completely wrong, just like in a real life really.
I totally adored his relationship with Emily. While so often the authors can’t really well write children characters, making them too adult or too immature for their age, I think that Emily was really brilliantly captured. My heart often went to her and, as a mother myself, I could only too well imagine how desperately her parents have felt seeing her so ill.
So yes, Teddy was lovely, though I must admit that I had some problems with personifying him so much. I mean, I am the first to tell you that animals DO have feelings and understand everything but Teddy was too human sometimes. He was also a great actor, just like all dogs are, they really do know when to play innocent, hungry, tired, and Teddy was a real champion of this. What also didn’t sit with me were the moments of two dogs “talking” to each other. It was already weird, but also interesting, to have a dog as a main character and the main point of view, but the moments when Teddy was talking with his neighbour Lady were a little too much. Of course they were needed – from Teddy’s point of view, he needed some explanations – but for me they were just this little too far fetched.
Yes, it’s a story that is full of clichés, that is predictable and incredibly sweet, but it’s a story about Christmas and at Christmas miracles and impossible can happen, right, and somehow I’ve just bought it all. It is also a poignant, and sometimes funny story of a beautiful friendship, hope and unconditional love. I was only expecting for some drama and for Teddy’s previous owners to appear to add some troubles but perhaps the author considered that that would be too much for Teddy.
But altogether, it was a lovely, cute story that tugs just at the right heart – strings. It follows a very simple formula and it has all the elements, like Christmas, abandoned puppy, very sick girl, devastated parents and some Christmas magic, and I read it with a pinch of salt, but I think it would be a perfect Christmas present, especially for younger readers, are there are some very important messages hidden there! It is not as fluffy as you could think, judging on the cover, there is depth to it, there are feelings, and emotions, and yes, I admit, more than once I could feel some tears trying to run down my face, but it also made me smile and – yes! – believe in magic, believe in people and in impossible happen possible. So “The Christmas Gift” was a lovely, fast – paced and light story that, even though a little predictable and clichéd, I personally loved and I will for sure introduce my daughter to it one day. It was funny and at the same time poignant and it didn’t show life’s bright side but simultaneously it was also uplifting. It had all what one can look for in the festive read: snow, cute puppy, love and family. Recommended!
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