This book is certainly well-timed: Christmas is upon us, and the book is a call to remember at Christmas all the things that make life worth living. It is a call to wake up and realize the value of people that we so often take for granted – our families. In a nutshell, that is the synopsis of the entire story – a story which is short and, to some, perhaps sweet.
Clay Williams is an ambitious computer engineer who works long hours at a job that often takes him away from his family on work. Day in and day out, he listens to the technical problems of his firm’s clients and solves them competently, a quality that has led his boss to insist on his taking the responsibility for bigger clients when all he wants to do is go home to his family. He never refuses, however, because he sees himself taking his boss’s position in the near future, when he retires.
One day, while out hunting with his dog, he sees a young boy near a cemetery who runs away as he approaches. When he returns later to collect his gun, which he had forgotten, he sees a young girl, and strikes up a conversation. The name Aiden de Harvich comes up, the name of her brother whom the little girl says is missing. From then on, finding out who Aiden is becomes a mission for Clay. He goes into public records, follows their links, and finally realizes the greatness of the man and the legacy that he left behind, all at the same time balancing his increasingly demanding job.
Through all this, his relationship with his wife becomes strained as she sees him focusing more on his work and never being around for their children’s school games or homework – or even just to lend a hand at home. As Clay unravels the mystery of Aiden’s identity, he slowly realizes what his priorities in life should be – what the priorities in all of our lives should be.
Gone But Not Forgotten: A Christmas Story is D.M. Wilmes’ debut book, and not surprisingly, was inspired by a visit that the author made to a cemetery during the Christmas of 2004. The book’s plot is relatively simple and while Wilmes does try to keep the reader engaged, the twists and turns are not unexpected, and that is the story’s undoing. If you feel like reliving the spirit of Christmas, then this is the right time to read this book, otherwise give it a miss.