Monday, December 17, 2012
A Christmas Home: A Novel by Greg Kincaid
Todd McCray, hero of A Dog Named Christmas, is now twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter, where he meets and quickly becomes friends with Laura, a young volunteer. Laura, like Todd, has disabilities, but her struggles are more physical than developmental. Their friendship is sealed when Todd - with the help of his trusted companion, the tenacious Labrador retriever named Christmas - trains a beautiful dog named Gracie to help Laura with the day-to-day life tasks that are difficult for her.
Life seems good for Todd, but all is not well in his hometown. Struggling families unable to make ends meet are abandoning more and more dogs, and the shelter is swelling to capacity. The local government is struggling to meet its obligations too, and in early December, on the cusp of another holiday season, Todd's boss delivers the bad news. Due to funding problems, the shelter will close its doors before the end of the year.
But what will happen to all the animals?
As the Christmas holiday approaches, Todd has limited time to find homes for all the dogs. Not to mention that he needs to secure a new job and figure out what to do when his friendship with Laura takes an unexpected romantic turn. All of this seems overwhelming unless you've got a loving family, dedicated friends, and a couple of very special dogs behind you. In which case, nothing is impossible.
Just so you know, I've never read A Dog Named Christmas, but I did see the Hallmark movie version of the book. I know its not the same, but that movie is the reason that I was excited to read A Christmas Home - the sequel to the first book. I wanted to find out what had happened to Todd McCray and his sidekick, Christmas - the lovable dog who melted his family's hearts. In the movie, Todd is a developmentally challenged young man who lives at home with his parents. He helps his dad around on the farm and has trouble keeping his bedroom tidy. Upon hearing that the local animal shelter is looking for temporary homes for the animals during the holidays, Todd decides that he would like to temporarily adopt a dog. His mother is supportive of the idea, but his father is not. He doesn't want another addition to the family's already tight budget, plus he doesn't want his son becoming attached to a pet that he is going to have to return after the holiday season. Todd winds up persuading his father to agree and the next thing you know, Christmas is at home with the McCrays. Of course, realizing that all of the animals need temporary homes, Todd goes to work and winds up persuading several members of his community to pitch in and take these animals home for the holidays. And in the end, Todd's father, accepts Christmas as the newest member of the McCray family. Talk about a sweet and heartwarming movie for the holidays! So, you can understand why I had to read this next book, A Christmas Home - I didn't just want to read about Todd and Christmas, but I wanted to read a sweet and fun story set during the holiday season, whilst I enjoyed the holiday season. Perfect timing, eh?
And so, I sat down and read A Christmas Home one night. I had my cup of tea nearby and just settled into this gem of a book. I found myself getting reacquainted with Todd and Christmas and learning about how far they've come. Todd now works at a local animal shelter - a job that he absolutely loves and enjoys! Christmas is still by his side, providing him with loyal companionship. And, Todd has made a new friend in Laura, a young woman who volunteers at the animal shelter. She is also coping with some physical disabilities, which inspires Todd to train a dog named Gracie to help Laura get through her everyday tasks. Their relationship changes from friendly to romantic as the novel progresses - which I loved! Of course, no novel is complete without a little bit of drama, right? In this story, the economy plays a role when the struggling families around town can't afford to keep their pets anymore. They are abandoning them to the local animal shelter, which reaches its full capacity much too quickly. The local government simply cannot afford to fund the shelter, which means that Todd is out of a job and all the animals will be homeless. Oh, and all of this must be resolved by Christmas - which is right around the corner! What does this mean? Todd McCray to the rescue! With the help of his family and friends, Todd manages to find solutions to all of his problems and leave us with a happy ending.
Talk about the perfect book to read this holiday season - I absolutely ate it up! I just loved reading all about Todd and Christmas and how much they rely on each other. I enjoyed reading about Todd tackling new situations and relationships. And I enjoyed reading about the idea that nothing is impossible as long as you believe in yourself and know that you can rely on your friends and family when you need them most. This truly was a treat to read. I would recommend it to all fans of A Dog Named Christmas and to everyone out their who loves a good Christmas story.
Thanks to The Crown Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this book!