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Esther's Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story Hardcover – October 21, 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Esther isn't so sure that she should spend so much time and money making her famous two-layer marmalade cake for holiday gifts but then she remembers the meaning of Christmas.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Jan Karon writes to "give readers an extended family and to applaud the extraordinary beauty of ordinary lives."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 37 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (October 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670031216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670031214
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an attractive book which would be a nice little "extra" present for someone who enjoys the Mitford series. I have to caution potential buyers, though, that the story itself can be read in about 10 minutes, and may appeal most to readers familiar with the Mitford characters (if you're familiar with their various personalities, it adds to your enjoyment of the story--Karon doesn't have room here to go into any character development or much detail about anything.) I think it is worth Amazon's reduced price, but I wouldn't pay full price for it, even if it does contain the recipe for Esther's famous cake!
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Format: Hardcover
As the month of October ends with Thanksgiving right around the corner, our thoughts turn to the holidays celebrated in December. Jan Karon, the author of the highly successful Mitford seies, last year provided her readers with a Christmas story called The Mitford Snowmen. This year she provides us with an even more enjoyable story, Esther's Gift.
Esther Bolick is known far and wide for her orange marmalade cakes which she presents to Mitford friends as holiday gifts. But this year while thinking about buying doilies and the high cost for them, Esther asks her husband, Gene, to calculate the cost for each cake she prepares. Upon hearing the staggering amount of each cake including her labor, Esther begins to scratch names off her list of those she feels has either slighted her or can do without her cake. Then as she listens to the words of Christmas carols and imagine these people opening the door and receiving the cakes from her and her husband, Esther realizes the true spirit of giving during the holiday season. And within a few hours left Esther lovingly prepares these cakes which rest on the doilies she originally thought way too expensive. And then after Church, she and Gene go to deliver the cakes which are very much a part of the Mitford traditions.
This is an enjoyable short read. It will certainly appeal to the many readers who enjoy Jan Karon's books. And for those not familiar with the Mitford series it will serve as a nice introduction to both Mitford and the author Jan Karon. I suggest this as a lovely gift for the holidays or as an addition to any readers holiday books. And as an added treat Esther's recipe is included in the book. I hope you will prepare this cake to give to friends as gifts or will serve it in your homes during the holidays season. And as thoughts turn to shopping, wrapping, cooking and entertaining, I wish to all a happy and healthy holiday season.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are a fan of the Mitford books get this from the library if you care to read it. You won't need to check it out. It can be easily read in 10 minutes. If you have never read the mitford books but want to DO NOT BOTHER WITH THIS. Unless you are familiar with her characters nothing about this ultra short story will be in the least interesting. I know them well and found it only barely diverting. I made it and the much talked about cake is every bit as good as the build up. But if you wish to make it get it from the library and spend the 10 bucks on a book that REALLY IS A BOOK!! This sad to say is a recipe.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, I am not a Mitford fan and have not read any of the books in this series, though my wife has. I ordered the book for her and when it arrived I opened it and began to read. The words are large type and double spaced and there is a picture on every third or fourth page. I estimate there are less than 1,500 words in this entire story. This really should have been an article in a magazine not an actual book. Read the Publisher's review and a couple of the 'rave' reviews. You will have the whole story and will save money. I am disappointed that an author and publisher would rip off their fans by charging for this short, short story!
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By A Customer on November 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I hesitate to call it a book -- in essence a SHORT story. If you eliminate the illustrations, the item is about 15-20 pages. I'm disappointed with this Karon release. I feel like I've been exploited. J. Karon is laughing all the way to the bank. SAVE YOUR MONEY!
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Format: Hardcover
It shouldn't take the average reader more than ten minutes to read this book, cover to cover. That's not an exaggeration. And as such, this book just isn't worth the price, any price.

Esther argues with herself over the cost of her locally famous cakes, which she gives to the deserving, especially at Christmas. And she decides that the price she pays is worth it. That's it.

If you must read this, get it from the library. You can read it there too.
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By A Customer on January 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a great fan of Jan Karon & her novels. This book, however, was extremely disappointing. There was no plot or feeling of Christmas spirit. Too short, no depth of character, wonderful recipe that I will never bake.
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Format: Hardcover
The story here is almost too short to be called short. It is teensy. It took me 15 minutes to read it in a book store. Did I enjoy it. Yes. I love all the Mitford books. But, Jan Karon should be ashamed of herself for presenting this teensy story and recipe as a book. However, I bet she'll make big bucks selling this bitsy thing as a Christmas stocking stuffer. Don't waste you money--read it in a library or a bookstore. Jan Karon, Father Tim would not approve!
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