Nicole Says… Read This Book by Joanne Huist Smith

By Nicole McManus

The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith
The 13th Gift
by Joanne Huist Smith

Joanne Huist Smith’s husband passed away a few months before December. Depressed and unable to participate in the annual Christmas cheer, the youngest of her three children worries that there won’t be a Christmas this year. One night, a mysterious package arrives on the doorstep; an anonymous gift signed “True Friends.” Each night, a small present arrives, in tune with the classic song, “Twelve Days of Christmas.” The blessing she receives from her mysterious friends allows her to come to terms with the Christmas spirit, not only accepting happiness, but also looking forward to the excitement of this holiday.

I was not anxious to start this book, although part of me thought it would be an ideal book for me, the other half screamed I wasn’t ready. Then, as I started reading the first few chapters, there was more loss in my life, creating an even larger crater in my heart. Through all of my life’s events over the past sixteen months, I could relate to the author’s desire to stay in bed and shun the happiness in the world. It isn’t a desire to hide from loved ones, but more a need to hide from the cheeriness of the universe. There were two powerful quotes in this book that I copied into my journal for me to hang onto and remember.

I will be smiling for a while as I look back and remember this uplifting read for future good deeds. I could have read it in one day, but I purposely dragged it out for an entire week. Kind of like the gift givers choosing the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” I knew it would take time to absorb the words and value in each lesson. Each day, I read only a chapter or two, because I didn’t want it to end. This is the kind of heartwarming book that helps restore readers faith in humanity.

About this writer

  • Nicole McManus Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic in reading. Contact her at

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