The Gift of Christmas Past

The Gift of Christmas Past

The Gift of Christmas Past (Woodsmall Press, October 2017)

Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.

Promises shattered.

Lies spoken.

She was arrested.

He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

Learn more, read an excerpt, and purchase a copy.


  • “A Gift of Christmas Past” by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall is a holiday treat. I really enjoyed this story.

  • The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall was a great book. Right from the start I really liked Hadley, and I felt so sorry for her and the things she had to go through as she was growing up.

  • I enjoyed this novel. Be sure to have a tissue ready at the end. There are a number of interesting themes in the story, from controlling parents to apraxia and selective mutism. The novel got off to a confusing start for me but by the end I was very glad I read it. A nice heartwarming story for Christmas.

  • I am still whirling from the heart-rending emotion of reading this book. Touching, Beautiful, Inspiring… It was such a quick read for me. Once I picked it up, I literally struggled to put it down, sneaking every moment I could find to read just a little bit more.

    I can’t recommend this book enough!! Yes!! You will want to get your copy of this one.

  • I think this book is wonderful and it gives such a great perspective on life. I enjoyed the banter back and forth between Hadley and Monroe, along with the romantic tension. I read this book in one evening.

  • Seeing a Christian fiction piece that traces back to a foster child situation is a nice change of pace. Surprisingly, this book is not saturated with faith-based messages (or even Christmas imagery). Instead, it focuses on healing the past and having hope for the future. Though it wasn’t my favorite of Cindy Woodsmall’s books, it was a pleasant change from Amish fiction.

  • Iola Goulton says:

    I offered to review The Gift of Christmas Past because it wasn’t Amish and I was interested in knowing what Cindy Woodsmall was like as an author.

  • EmpowerMoms says:

    This book had lots of lessons about forgiveness, love, trust, friendship, and God’s love to name a few. I was amazed at the hardships that Hadley had to overcome as a foster child, but with the help of her friends; they all became successful members of society and turned towards job professions that helped others.

  • This book is SO good. I had no idea what I was getting when I began this book. The depth of emotion right off the bat in this book took my breath away. I enjoyed every page of this book, and I’m a little sad it’s over. This is a story I definitely disappeared into, and I love when books allow me to escape! Kuddos a million times over to Cindy and Erin for writing an impeccable story. I hope they have more novels planned for the future!

  • If you pick up this book based on the authors name alone you would be expecting an Amish book. But oh no its a contemporary Southern Romance and it was Woodsmall’s best book yet.
    It was clean and very well written and the editing was very good. I will say that I have read everyone of Woodsmall’s Amish books and they were good. But this one was very good and I hope that she continues writing contemporary romances.

  • This is a story that will encourage you this Christmas season. It will put a smile on your face and remind you that there is good in the world. And there is always hope for a second chance.

  • A great fiction book just in time for the holidays!

  • I loved this read! It was simply amazing. It’s not your typical Christmas romance, but it has so much to offer. It’s a tale of lies and deception, regret, and anger.  Underneath all that was a strong connection and love that was relentless as well. This was a fast paced read that really grabbed my attention start to finish. The storyline was believable and the characters were relatable. I recommend this read!

  • This was an interesting story with a sweet romance- actually two!- and likable, compelling characters. The story had characters who had grown up in the foster care system, and it presented a sympathetic perspective of kids who are struggling and often misunderstood. I also liked the speech therapy element of the story. Both main characters end up in that field, and it’s an area I’ve never really thought about.

  • I have enjoyed a number of Cindy Woodsmall’s Amish novels, so I was intrigued that she coauthored a contemporary tale with her daughter-in-law. The duo creates a compelling story with likable characters.

  • These characters were heartbreakingly authentic and genuine. I was pleasantly surprised by how beautifully Cindy and Erin pulled this story together. These were characters I loved to love and a couple that I wanted to hate.

    Overall, I would suggest this book to others who love Cindy Woodsmall’s fiction. This is so different from her Amish books but every bit as good. It’s different. The themes are so different than any other contemporary book that I’ve read to date.

  • The characters pulled me in to their stories from the beginning and kept me very engaged throughout. The experiences of Hadley, Monroe, Elliott, little Chloe, and the other characters provided a very pleasing pace and interest level. The issues of foster care and elements of speech therapy, along with the problems resulting from parental pressure and misunderstandings, all fit together into a very interesting story. And the romantic element is just right to round things out.

  • Wow! Talk about a book that grabs you by the throat and sucks you into the story… Hadley’s life as a teenager had me in tears. To live such a crazy life as a foster-kid, never knowing if you were going to be allowed to stay in your home or be forced into another place must have been horrible. Then, to compare your life with that of your boyfriend who grew up with a silver spoon…I can only imagine the sense of unworthiness and frustration she felt.

    The unique relationships between the characters and the amazing backdrop of Asheville, North Carolina, make for a wonderful tale of perseverance and forgiveness.

  • This is one Christmas read you are sure to enjoy.

  • The Gift of Christmas Past was a sweet and enjoyable read from mother/daughter team, Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. While I enjoyed this quick and easy read, the story didn’t flow smoothly and I felt I was missing details along the way. I would have appreciated more depth in the characters as well. But with that said, the story gives you a glimpse into the journey of young sweethearts and the power of forgiveness. The ending is really inspiring as well.

  • Moments says:

    This was such a great read, short, sweet and relatable. I was curious about this book when I saw that Cindy Woodsmall was one of the authors as she writes so many Amish novels and this is such a change and also her co-writing this.

  • The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains provide the setting for a tender and engaging novel, and the authors have done a great job of using that gorgeous backdrop to its potential. Along with the scenic views, The Gift of Christmas Past gives us vibrant characters, poignant histories and gentle romance. This is an emotional story, to be sure, but it never feels too heavy. And there are plenty of moments that will have you smiling or cheering or swooning. Or sometimes all three at once! Put this one on your Christmas list!

  • This book takes readers on a journey of two young girls through the foster care system and shares their struggles, and delivers a powerful story of forgiveness. I hope everyone will pick up a copy and let your heart be filled with a sense of peace, love and family.

  • I enjoyed The Gift of Christmas Past. The characters are real, they have faults, feelings, and struggles. I love that. And they have spunk!

  • The plot was great, and the takeaway even better. At the center of the story are two people in love separated by not knowing the truth about each other and letting that keep them separated for years. That doesn’t just happen between a couple in love, but can happen between anyone. I was entertained by the book, but appreciated that reminder that we all need to really talk and know the truth before we let something separate us and keep us from someone when we don’t know the truth or the whole story.

  • This was a great quick Christmas story. It was sweet and very heartfelt and a little suspenseful at times.

  • A fast, easy read, Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall’s The Gift of Christmas Past is a story of hardship, overcoming difficult odds and enduring obstacles all mixed with a touch of romance.

    The novel provides readers with an appreciation for the type of loyalty Hadley and her foster sisters particularly Elliott display. The girls are extremely resourceful, learning how to make life work for them despite their hardships.

    As an added bonus, the story deals with one character’s selective mutism, a topic many may be unfamiliar with but may enjoy learning more about.

    Definitely an entertaining story, worth the read.

  • I love, love, love this book! Hadley is such an exciting character. She’s an overcomer, in the words of Mandisa, and even though her life has been unspeakably hard, she continually looks outward at how she can use her experiences to help others. I love that perspective. Elliott is just as fun – because even though she’s not quite as together as Hadley, maybe, she’s all in for being generous and smart and working toward the combined improvement of their circumstances. I love their willingness to stick together and work together.

  • While you might be thinking this is something predictable, there is a bigger lesson at work between the cover of this novel. It is showing that forgiveness can be found, even if despite all the evidence facing you that points to someone’s guilt, resolution is possible. It shows how carrying secrets that could lead to restoration have caused additional pain and hurt that were not needed, but most of all it does show that love really is the greatest gift one could possess.

  • The authors have not only written a touching story of healing and forgiveness but have highlighted real issues and emotions experienced by foster children. I felt that I also learned some interesting facts about speech problems in children, specifically selective mutism and methods used by speech specialists to help restore their speech. I enjoyed reading “The Gift of Christmas Past” and I believe that others should enjoy it also.

  • What a story of lost love that reunites, but with better understanding of the meaning of love! And that’s not all The Gift of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall have to offer. This story has a romance that tugs our emotional heartstrings, but I personally find the characters’ journey, as well as the various themes in this book just as if not more compelling.

  • WORD Up! says:

    This is a book about healing and second chances. It was a very encouraging read, a good romance with likable characters and enough tension to invest the reader in the story. I will look for books written by these authors in the future. I highly recommend this read.

  • Cindy Woodsmall is the queen of Amish fiction books so it was so fun to see her team up with Erin Woodsmall and write a Southern Romance! And as always, the book was a great read and so perfect for a cold winter night curled up by the fireplace!

    I love the romance, the character development and interaction, what I learned about speech therapy, and the Christmas theme! This is a must-read this Christmas and would make a great Christmas gift idea as well!

  • This is for my readers who love a Christmas romance! Releasing her first non-Amish novel, Cindy Woodsmall teams up with her daughter-in-law, Erin Woodsmall, bringing readers a love story spanning over a decade.

    There’s romance, faith and Christmas – a great mix for my contemporary romance fans. With a Hallmark movie feel and topics that go beyond a love story, I know fans of Woodsmall will enjoy this southern fiction read.

  • By The Book says:

    The Gift of Christmas Past is no fluffy novella. Serious issues are explored, and I found myself intrigued by the speech problems presented and the plight of at risk teens, especially those in the foster care system. This book is a meaty read without being too heavy — its great strength.

  • Overall, The Gift of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance is a well-written, heartwarming read that will appeal to fans of Cindy Woodsmall, as well as casual romance readers.

  • This also a book about forgiving others and also that things are not always what they seem.

  • The Gift of Christmas Past was a sweet holiday read that really packed in some important issues. From foster children to speech therapy, this was a story that balanced a couple of love stories and a little light mystery with characters that definitely showed what caring for your neighbor as yourself really looks like in action.

  • God is Love says:

    Despite being a work of fiction, this story touches on real-life issues and desperate situations.

  • This book is a bit different from most, as the authors are a mother/daughter-in-law duo. Despite having two authors, the storyline flows quite smoothly. The characters are well drawn, and the imagery created is beautiful and, at times, heartbreaking. Love and sacrifice are demonstrated throughout story, making this a wonderful addition to your holiday-reading list. There are some wonderful recipes included at the end, as well.

  • Book by Book says:

    The Gift of Christmas Past is a sweet second-chance romance for high-school sweethearts with quite a bit of history and doesn’t hesitate to delve into a few more serious topics. The characters are well developed and full of life, the setting jumps off the page and into the imagination, and the story overall moves at an excellent and engaging pace. It’s hard not to enjoy a story like The Gift of Christmas Past this time of year, and I recommend it to anyone needing a wonderful Christmas read.

  • I am so glad that Cindy and Erin Woodsmall teamed up to write a contemporary romance, because The Gift of Christmas Past is a winner. If you’ve read any of Cindy’s other books, you’ll know that her stories are quite complex, and that’s certainly true here as well.

  • A wonderful Christmas story of hope and healing. And romance!
    The story begins in 2003 filling us in with the backstory.
    Then we are brought up to date and the present and right into Hadley’s kitchen.
    With real adult problems and obstacles from her past Hadley’s character grows as she overcomes.
    The information about speech therapy was interesting and very informative.
    This was a fast read as the story develops quickly and keeps the readers interest.

  • Hadley and Monroe are beautifully chiseled and have been through so much in their lives. My heart truly ached for their early years. But, both Cindy and Erin pieced together a beautiful story of hope, forgiveness and tenderness and gave readers an unforgettable Christmas story.

  • I have always been a girl who loves a little excitement and adventure. This year, I have gotten that in so many novels and The Gift of Christmas Past did not disappoint.

    Cindy does a great job of drawing you in to the story by sharing true to life experiences — like in this novel. We meet Hadley, who is a teen that bounced around from foster home to foster home. She is wrongly accused for a crime she did not commit. She is betrayed by her boyfriend, and from there, things go downhill for her.

    The excitement in every page of this book left me wanting SO much more. I could not put this novel down. I finished it in 2 days flat. That to me is when you know a book is excellent.

  • This was an excellent book! This was probably my favorite holiday book ever, since I loved the themes and layers of the story. This one is a keeper!

  • Cindy and Erin Woodsmall wrote a beautiful Christmas book that is unlike many other books. I loved the background of speech therapists and it was fascinating to read the case about 4-year-old Chloe. It was interesting to read a little research into apraxia and trauma-related events. They did a wonderful job tying their research into their storyline. 

  • Jami's Words says:

    The Gift of Christmas Past was a sweet story. Forgiveness, redemption, and overcoming fear were themes that I appreciated reading in this story. If you’re a lover of Christian fiction, I think you’ll find this one a welcome time of entertainment.

  • This was a heartwarming, well written book that will help get you into the spirit of Christmas. Such a heartwarming story about redemption and love lost and found. I loved the characters and how they really grow on you,they are flawed and yet very likable. I loved how this book had a lot more going on and really kept one engaged until the very end. Well written and fascinating this book was a great read.

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