Fiction-Young Adult
Whimsical Publications,
LLC/paperback 88 pages
November 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1-936167-36-4
Justin Reeves is a man who has it all: a good job, a loving wife and children who are the center of his universe. Justin
also has a secret he's hidden from everyone his entire life—or so he thought. Quite innocently his small daughter,
Debby, stumbles upon his secret and is shocked by what she finds. She confronts her father with the awful truth, and
together they embark upon a journey which takes her father from the darkness of shame into the light of victory.

Drawing from true events in her own childhood, author Diane Craver captivates the reader from page one to a
stunning climax which will touch your heart and impact your life forever in this must-read story of love's triumph over
Reviews for A Christmas Gift
Excerpt for A Christmas Gift
Comment/review = Diane Craver chronicles a wonderfully inspiring tale of overcoming obstacles with willpower and
familial support. This heartwarming story brought me to tears and yet left me with a glowing impact of the knowledge
that with hard work and the encouragement of the people who love you obstacles can be overcome. Although this
story takes place in the 1950s, I think it has a timeless feel to it and a message that lasts a lifetime. I have not decided
if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I am very upset to find out that this is not a memoir but rather a fictitious
account of some events that happened in the author's life. While reading the story, I became so involved I believed
that this indeed is an autobiography. I feel a little cheated that it is not an entirely true story, perhaps because it is so
well written and the descriptions so authentic. This is truly an inspiring story for readers, young and old alike.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
Rated: 4 cups

Comment/review = This is a short read but it is packed with a wonderful message! I LOVED this book! Diane did an
awesome job of developing her characters. Her writing style pulls you in and puts you right there, in the Reeves house
in 1957! You will be truly blessed by reading this book.

Amazon review by:  J. Thompson
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = Sometimes when I read a book written in a child's perspective I'm yanked out of the story because I
can't really buy into the voice. It's like what a grownup thinks a child will sound like. Not so with this book. Diane Craver
does an amazing job of pulling me back to 1957 and placing me inside a seven year old girl named Debra. I saw what
she saw, reasoned the way she did, and felt her emotions -- especially her love for her dad. There were moments in
this book where I had to stop, just to give myself a moment to process the emotion Diane stirred in me. Without giving
anything away, I'll let you in on one particular moment: Debra's mother tells her about her father's reaction to a poem
she wrote. You'll know what I mean when you read it.

Words really can't convey how precious this story is. I plan on giving it as a gift to several of my relatives.

Amazon review by:  Shawna Williams
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = I was looking for a book to give as a Christmas gift and started reading "A Christmas Gift". I wasn't
prepared for the journey it took me on. I didn't put it down until I finished it. This book is about a gift and it IS a gift in
many different ways. It is a story of life and the power of family love told through the eyes of a seven year old. This
story will warm your heart and probably take you to a few places in your own heart you haven't been for a while. I
found the gift I was looking for.

Amazon review by:  Gary Harpst
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = This is one of those Christmas stories you can read year around. I applaud Ms. Craver for this
beautiful, heartfelt tale about a very loving family that often reminded me of the old Walton series. The characters are
well developed, and although I usually don't care for books written in first person, Ms. Craver won me over quickly with
this awesome story. I must warn you though; you should have Kleenex nearby when you read this gem!

Amazon review by: Anne Patrick
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = A great story that can be read many times throughout the year! Kudos to Ms. Craver for penning
such a wonderful book.

Amazon review by: Samatha Davis
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = A secret can't be secret forever. "A Christmas Gift" follows Justin Reeves, a man who has
everything he could ever ask for as a father. But when his daughter discovers a bit of his past, the truth jumps out and
shakes his serene life and offers a lot more challenges. Drawing on her own experiences, Diane Carver presents a
thoughtful story that won't be easy to put down. "A Christmas Gift" is a wonderful read of facing the past for your

Review by:  Midwest Book Review
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = I can highly recommend this beautifully written memoir of an unforgettable Christmas as seen
through the eyes of seven year old Debby. Family life in the 1950's was wonderfully captured and Debby was a
delight. The story was quite poignant, but ultimately uplifting and very touching, and I cried more than a few tears. It is
not a long book but I enjoyed it from start to finish. It reminded me of classic storytelling such as Anne of Green
Gables and Little Women. A gift not just for Christmas.

Amazon review by:  Colette
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = "A Christmas Gift" embodies the feel-good atmosphere of the season that will tug on your
heartstrings. Seven year-old Debra Reeves is a precocious young girl who makes a surprising discovery regarding
her father. Will that discovery inspire or hinder her father's determination?

The plot flows organically. The first person narration is well done and Craver captures the voice of a seven-year-old
effortlessly, putting the reader right in the scenes next to Debby. Craver's authentic descriptions and dialogue allow
the reader to picture Finley, Ohio easily.

The novel's rich characterization is the best part of the story. Debby is warm-hearted, yet a bit mischievous. She's also
honest and sincere. Debby's father's determination to overcome a challenge is inspiring, but what I really enjoyed is
that the story involves the entire family. I especially liked Gail's story. She has a second change at love, but will she
take it? Does Carl possess the conviction to change the course of his life? Will Kathy overcome the handicap of polio?

"A Christmas Gift" is an inspirational fiction. It embodies the hope, faith, love, and joy of the season. An emotional and
engaging read!

Amazon review by: Steph "Author of "The Giving Meadow"
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = I'd already read all the reviews about this book before I read it. Still, I wasn't exactly sure what to
expect, but it immediately draws you into the Reeves family and the pain that Justin Reeves suffers because of his

Ms. Craver is expert at writing through the eyes of a seven year old girl. We're there with her as she helps her dad
overcome his handicap, and we're taken to years beyond when Debby herself becomes a grandmother.

This story is a moving read. It's about faith and love, pure and simple. The love of a man for his family and the love of
a little girl for her father. If you want a book that will touch you in an unforgettable way --and believe me, you won't
forget this story-- then pick up this book. It's not just for Christmas. It's just one you need to read.

Amazon review by: Miss Mae
Rating: 5 stars

Comment/review = I have to warn you I cried more than once while reading this rather short book. Of course I laughed
some too. All good books affect me this way.

A prologue sets the scene and adds a depth of reality that might not be possible without it. The epilogue lets the
reader know what happens to all the characters for the next fifty-three years. It was a real delight to read that part. At
first I wondered how the author was able to stop where she did with all that backstory available, but it worked perfectly
the way it was written.

Despite the title, this is not one of those stories that only makes sense during the Christmas season. This is one you'll
enjoy all year long.

Amazon review by:  Sidney W. Frost "Author of Inspirational Fiction"
Rating: 5 stars

It was 1957 when I saw something that I wasn’t meant to see. I have never forgotten this night because it had such an
impact on me. I was only seven years old, and what I saw my father doing confused me. Finally, I had enough courage
to ask my mother about it. After she explained everything to me, I was shocked and saddened.

What happened after I learned my father’s greatest secret was extraordinary to our family. When my father, Justin L.
Reeves, decided to conquer an overwhelming disability in life, he was fifty-four years old. He gave our family an
incredible gift to last a lifetime because of what he accomplished at this age.
His triumph made me into the woman I am today. My three older siblings were able to make the best decisions of their
adult lives because of our father's influence.

This is a story of determination and hope. My father's journey was not easy. But if it had been easy, I wouldn't be
telling his story now. After you finish reading this book, I pray that the true meaning will linger in your heart and mind;
just as the outcome of my long ago memory has remained in my soul for fifty-three years.

My name is Debra Reeves Cunningham, and I am sixty years old. It’s not hard to take you back to the beginning in
1957 when I was seven. My life was good and simple. My memories of this wonderful year are crystal clear. We lived
on a farm with eighty acres outside of Findlay, Ohio. My petite mother, Lucille, worked hard doing whatever needed to
be done on the farm. She was a big help to my dad when it came to dairy chores. With no milking machines, they
milked seven cows by hand in the morning and again in the evening.

My siblings didn't help with this time-consuming job. My oldest sister, Gail, was twenty-five and lived at home, but not
by her choice. Whenever she mentioned moving to an apartment, our mother insisted that wouldn’t be proper for a
single woman. Gail worked as a secretary at the impressive Ohio Oil Company in Findlay. She always dressed in pretty
clothes and went out on dates all the time.

My brother, Carl, at the age of twenty-one was in the Army, and he hated it. He wrote me the best letters. The past
summer, we all traveled in our blue Mercury car to visit him in North Carolina.

Next in the family was my fourteen-year-old sister, Kathy. We shared a bedroom, and she never complained about
sharing a room with a younger sister. She only worried about not being able to dance. From the time she was a small
child, she wanted to be a dancer. She watched all the Shirley Temple movies and practiced on the kitchen linoleum
floor. I was told how her dancing entertained me when I was a fussy baby with teething pain.

A short time after Kathy celebrated her seventh birthday, she was stricken with polio. She wore a brace on her left leg
because the polio had weakened these muscles. Dancing was no longer a realistic dream for Kathy.

It's time to take you back to the night when what I saw made me question everything. From my siblings, I learned that
sometimes we see only what we want to see, and only face the truth when we can no longer deny it. I remember
everything about that night so well. In my mind I see my bare feet softly walking down twenty-two steps. I enjoyed
counting the steps and jumping off the last one.

It drove Gail crazy whenever she was in a hurry and be-hind me. “Why do you have to count these stupid steps all the

“I like to count them. I always get twenty-two.”

And so on this particular night I counted them again. With no light on to guide my footsteps, I didn't want to fall in the
dark. I didn't switch the hallway light on because it would shine through the register. My parents might wake up and see
the light from their bedroom. Mommy liked to keep a door open for air circulation in their small room. I knew that I had
to be very quiet since I wasn't supposed to be up at this late hour. I skipped the jump off the last step so my parents
wouldn't hear me. With a racing heart, I slowly opened the old stairway door, hoping it wouldn't make a sound.
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A Christmas Gift
Diane Craver

For my parents, with love and thankfulness.

Horace Clifton Wilson (1902-1979)
Laoma Gail Wilson (1904-2003)

And for my siblings, with loving and fun memories.
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