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Fiction Book Review: Christmas With Tucker by Greg Kincaid – Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie-Inspired
You know you’re in for an emotional read with any Hallmark-inspired story. Greg Kincaid continues the tradition with his new book, Christmas with Tuckerpushed by the seller, A dog named Christmaswhich became a 2009 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, capturing more than 12 million US viewers.
Sixty-something George McCray awaits a Christmas visit from his mother at her Crossing Trails, Kansas dairy farm. He now suffers from memory loss. To facilitate his recall, he selected key McCray family memorabilia, including a dog named Tucker’s collar, his grandfather’s tin cup and the last puzzle his father, John, had given to Grandma Cora.
These items come to life, as George recounts in the winter of 1962, as he waits for his mother’s arrival. Then, at thirteen years old, George transitioned from a boy to a young man.
In June, George’s father died in a tractor accident on the farm, shaking the McCray family to its core. George lived with his parents, sisters Hannah and Trisha and grandfather Bo and grandmother Cora McCray.
The end of the summer saw George’s mother and college-aged sister move back to Minnesota to be near his parents. Everyone, including George, thought it best for him to stay on the farm until Christmas, helping run the McCray dairy farm; and adjusting to life without his father.
Kincaid draws you deep into young George’s world; and describes the impact a four-year-old Irish setter has had on his life.
Neighbor Frank Thorne asks the McCray family to take care of his dog by name while he serves time for drunken, disorderly conduct in the local jail. Learn how Tucker made his name while staying with the McCray’s.
At first, George is reluctant to befriend the canine, whom he regularly sees from afar before boarding his school bus every morning; bound in a circular chain. It wasn’t long before the two became inseparable, sharing a warm bed together during bitterly cold Kansas nights. Tucker is faithfully there for George, as he often contemplates the loss of his father and the unfairness of life.
Middle America, simpler times prevail. Grandma Cora works leisurely at the puzzle table. He built the head of defiance that, until his death, John gave to his son. Bo’s father drinks daily from tin cups that have been in the McCray family for generations. He also made a leather collar; show “Tucker McCray,” once, through a turn of events, George becomes the owner of the Irish setter.
Experience the realities of farm life. George wakes up every day at 4:30 am to help Bo’s grandfather milk the cows before he goes to school. It’s a generational job he inherited after his father’s untimely death.
Also, the animals’ affinity for walking on frozen pond water, often resulting in death when the ice breaks and they cannot escape. Kincaid describes George’s attempts to save the animals, while enduring near freezing and bleeding, barefoot.
Cherokee County, Kansas experienced one of its worst winter storms the day before Christmas. With roads blocked by snow, many residents are left to fend for themselves. Grandpa Bo decides it’s time to teach George how to operate the mammoth machine, called a maintenance person (today’s class person), to help clear the roads. “My grandfather is giving me a new adult rule book so I can throw away a child’s book that has discouraged me this year. I’ve learned to be suspicious of rules rooted in my rights and needs, and instead I’ve learned adhere to the rule of truth that has died. and concern for others.”
The spirit of Christmas alludes to George, due to the death of his father and ambivalent feelings about returning to Minnesota to live with his mother: “Christmas, it seemed to me that it would not be good this year. , just knew that you would not get it did you want?”
Christmas with Tucker end with a celebration of the whole city of the season, not unlike It’s a Wonderful Life. Invest time during the holidays and read Kincaid’s short, 180-page narrative, sure to enhance your Christmas season.
Author Greg Kincaid lives on a farm in Kansas; and is a pet adoption advocate. To find adoptable pets near you, visit http://www.petfinder.com.
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