Book Review – Esther’s Gift by Jan Karon

Title: Esther’s Gift
Author: Jan Karon
Format: Hardcover (gift book)
Written/Published: 2004

So anyone who’s a fan of the Mitford series is familiar with Jan Karon.  This little book is a stand-alone short story, theme: Christmas.  By very loose estimate, this is somewhere around 2k.

The story starts out with Esther agonizing over the cost of paper lace doilies to go under the orange marmalade cakes she gives out at Christmas.  Then her husband tells her to figure out how much these cakes cost her to make.  Then she agonizes over that.

That’s pretty much it.  She spends a bit of time deciding who’s worth it, a little bit more time talking badly about everyone she’d want to give a cake to,  and gets wishy washy about it.

So here’s the thing.  My philosophy about the holidays (or life in general) is that if they matter to you, money doesn’t.  Plain and simple.  So the whole story was a little… off to me.  Because, really, Mitford is a series of sleepy-vanilla stories, and this one was just obnoxious.  “I make these cakes every year and you aren’t worth my time…”

And, because every story then has a resolution, this one pole vaulted straight to it.  I could have done with a few more paragraphs between nobody getting a cake and then the end.  (Honestly, I could have done with about 1000 more words in the story overall…)

Bottom line.  The story was cutesy, and the included recipe at the end sounds yummy.  Read it if it’s hanging around, but don’t go out of your way to find it unless you’re a serious fan of the series.

Three out of Five Pages.

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