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Publisher's Summary

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children - especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.

©2014 Joanne Huist Smith (P)2014 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"If there ever was a roller-coasterish page-turner of a Christmas book, this would be it. As a veteran devourer of Christmas stories short and long, fictional and true, I mistakenly assumed I'd encountered every conceivable plot variant in the genre. Turns out I was dead-wrong. Joanne Hurst Smith's wondrous story hit me from so many directions, playing on the strings of so many emotions, that it left me limp at the end Quite simply, it is a masterpiece." (Joe L. Wheeler, Ph.D., author of the bestselling Christmas in My Heart series)
" The 13th Gift has a touch of magic in it. It's a lovely story that proves we can recover from any loss, strengthened by the blessings of others. It's a classic for the Christmas season--and all seasons." (Glenn Plaskin, author of Katie Up And Down The Hall: The True Story Of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors Into A Family)
"For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas memoir about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love." ( Book Reporter.com)

What listeners say about The 13th Gift

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

materialistic

pretty dismal. A wife who was loved by a great and doting man died prematurely. now she's left with three beautiful, loving, healthy, respectful, obedient children. Oh, and lest I forget, a secret Santa who delivers heartfelt gifts to their door each 13 days of Christmas. big problems?not enough $ for computers and bigger home. forgive me, but I suspect to people with BIG problems, this story may appear whiny and full of self pity.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Pathetic

I had to stop listening to this after three chapters of nothing but negative whining! This author needs serious grief counseling! This is not an uplifting Christmas story!! Don't waste your credit or your time!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Depressing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The person reading it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The 13th Gift?

When they found out who was leaving the gifts and why this was started. It made you feel so good and makes you want to be a part of it.

How could the performance have been better?

Stop the whining. It was sad but the annoying, constant whining was like nails on a chalkboard. It took me several months to finally finish it.

Was The 13th Gift worth the listening time?

The story was an incredible act of unselfish kindness.

Any additional comments?

the experience was sad but the family kept together and helped each other cope with their loss.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

13th gift

If you could sum up The 13th Gift in three words, what would they be?

it could of been alot shorter .I think way to many details.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

when they found out who was putting gifts at their door step.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Reminder that Kindness is such a gift

loved it and would recommend to anyone that is about sharing kindness and thoughtfulness to strangers that are hurting

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • CJ
  • 11-30-20

Just the lift I needed

I always start the season out by listening to a holiday story just to get into the Christmas spirit. This year, the dreaded 2020, I had buried my 98 year old dad, we dealt with COVID restrictions, a dear friend had passed with cancer and I just wasn’t feeling very cheery. This real life recount of a family’s difficult loss and true friends that helped them through the Christmas season helped me dust myself off and I’m now ready to tackle the holidays with a purpose. Truly heartwarming.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring Christmas Story

This is a wonderful book for the Christmas season. With the author’s descriptive telling of her family’s grief, emotions, and healing, it helped me better understand, and want to do more for, others who have suffered loss. It’s a perfect story to bring into focus the true Spirit of Christmas.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

It was a great story about a family's love, grief and living through it all.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bitter turned sweet

This sweet story took awhile for me to fall in love with it. The sorrow and bitterness in the first half of the book were truly difficult to read, although clearly raw and true emotions. However, the redemption and beauty in the second half of the book are worth it!
Lovely story, and I love that it was read by the author.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love and Loss

This was a very heart wrenching book based on a true story of love, loss and a journey of the heart.

1 person found this helpful