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Esther's Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story
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Esther's Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,661 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Readers flocked home to Mitford last Christmas, making The Mitford Snowmen a New York Times bestseller.

In Esther's Gift, Esther Bolick is filled with the holiday spirit as she prepares to bake the annual batch of her famous-and utterly scrumptious-orange marmalade cakes. Right after Christmas Eve service at Lord's Chapel, she and Gene will deliver a two-layer marmalade t
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 28th 2002 by Viking Adult
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Rating details
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Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a cute and funny short story! Even if you don't end up reading the book, you should look at the author's picture on the back cover. It's classic!
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this story of giving and generosity. Although it really is too small, it does pack a lot of punch. Glad I took the time to read
Valerie Kyriosity
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is just a short story, and typical of the Mitford series, but it's about baking cakes and counting the cost thereof, so it hit just the right spot in my heart. Karon's too sweet for some, but I find her the right degree of sweet -- not too treacly, more like a marmalade cake.
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This little Mitford book always helps me step back from the busyness of Christmas.
Ann Adams
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great Karon book for the quiet days after the holidays.
Unlike most of the rest of this series, this book and its companion book, "The Mitford Snowmen," didn't really have a plot. They were too short to have plots. I would've categorized them as character sketches, but they weren't really that, either. One would have to already know and enjoy the characters in order to enjoy this book. It's more of a warm-fuzzy-thinking-of-you Christmas gift than it is a real book. I prefer the rest of the series, with more substance, and less warm fuzzies.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
How can you not give this sweet story 5 stars? God bless Mitford, and dear Jan Karon. This series and the characters, including Mitford itself, will live within me all my days. Now, I think I need to gather the ingredients for an orange marmalade. It's been far too long since I've baked one. I need to follow Esther's example.
Joni (Jonez)
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 A fun little Christmas story I haven’t read in almost 18 years or so. It was a fun giving the second read through and recalling baking the cake recipe at the end of the book.
Sharon Peterson
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a cute little book about giving at Christmas time.
Kristi Butler
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As delicious as Esther's cake!
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
A short story about what we receive when we give- Esther contemplates the cost of her orange marmalade cake.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Finally, the real recipe for THE cake.
Lisa Lawrence
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Sweet Christmas story - just wish it had been longer w/ more action before Esther's "aha!" moment. The recipe, though... yay!
Rosa Cline
This was a very short story (took about 10-15 minutes to read) it was cute; but at times it was irritating because it seemed to just center on the cost of the lady making cakes. She usually makes a traditional marmalade cake (which at the end of the book is the recipe) and gives it to several of her friends whom either doesn't have family or is lonely etc. But this year she wants her husband to calculate up how much it costs her to make them. So majority of the story is about that. Which I guess ...more
Very short and lacking some depth. I didn't feel much from the song that would turn Esther's mind around to completing her usual number of pies either. Esther and her husband were the cutest part of the story. What a lovely marriage and communication skills they had with each other. He was a dear to help with the calculations and yet still a gentle caring man who loved his wife very much.

"That was her way of say'in I'm fat!" "Fat?" said Gene, looking amazed. "Fat? I don't see any fat! Let me ge
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Very short story with pretty color illustrations and the orange marmalade cake recipe in the back. The basic story revolves around Esther - she looks at the cost of the ingredients (um, that she's ALREADY bought) and asks her husband to figure up what each cake costs and he adds in a fairly generous amount for her time and then there's the electricity to run the oven…and well you get the idea. These become pricey cakes and she determines to pare the list down - until it's almost non-existent. Th ...more
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
This is much better than the other Christmas story that Karon published. This is the short story of a woman, Esther, that decides to figure out how much it costs for her to make seven Orange Marmalade cakes. She is appalled at how much it costs and decides not to make them this year. Then she begins imagining how people react to her gift every year and she changes her mind. The Orange Maramalade cake recipe is included, but Esther figured that it took about three hours to make and I am not willi ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a cute little gift book that features Esther Bolick, Mitford's cake baker extraordinaire. After her husband figures out how much it costs to bake one of her famous orange marmalade cakes, she second guesses her Christmas list and cuts it down to size. Until... she hears a touching Christmas carol and remembers the reason for the season.

I read this standing in the aisle at the library, but had to bring it home to copy the orange marmalade cake recipe. I made it for my family for Christmas
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
A cute very short story for Christmas.
Esther Bolick is filled with the holiday spirit as she prepares to bake the annual batch of her famousorange marmalade cakes. Right after Christmas Eve service at Lord's Chapel, she and Gene will deliver a two-layer marmalade to each of seven friends and neighbors.Then Gene calculates what it costs to bake this legendary cake, and Esther is stunned. Is it worth it to spend so much money on people who haven't always measured up to her expectations? The answe
Dec 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas-books
Cute, but really just a short story with a message and extraordinary illustrations to compliment the storyline. Esther decides to figure out how much is costs to make her special Christmas cake for her dear friends. She decides the $ bottom line is not the only reason to continue her tradition. If you have 15 minutes to spare on a quick holiday story check this out from your local library. Bonus: Recipe for the famed Orange Marmalade cake in the back of the book.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-my-books
Orange marmelade cakes are part of the true meaning of Christmas for the residents of small town Mitford.
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is nothing but a shameless attempt to make more money off what I would assume is an already profitable series of books--The Mitford Series of books. This tiny hardcover is the short story of Esther computing one Christmas, how much her famed Orange Marmalade cakes cost, deciding that most people weren't worth that, but then changing her mind. The only reason I gave the book two stars is that it is pretty and it does have the Orange Marmalade cake recipe in it.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love Jan Karon books, and just wanted a good heart warming read for Christmas and could tell it would just be a short story. I really liked it because it was heart warming and had a good message. I liked the message because it gives Esther a human personality. I like to read about imperfect people who still manage to do good in their lives. Loved me orange marmalade cake recipe at the back of the book. You can read this book in less than an hour, but is a fun Christmas read.
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Nikki by: a friend
I read this book based on a glowing recommendation from a friend. It is very short, only about 40 pages, including a number of pictures. I got through it in about 10 minutes. It's a cute story, but hardly long enough to be a book. It seemed more like something you would read in a magazine or Reader's Digest. Glad that it was so quick to get through. It made me think that anybody could publish a book. Kinda silly actually.
Yvonne O'connor
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A sweet story about the real meaning of Christmas. But, I have to take issue with her math in coming to "three hours per cake" She made them all at once, or else it would have taken 21 hours to make the 7 cakes - and she did it while her husband ran out somewhere. So, it's more like 3 hours for all seven, which is more like $4 a cake in labor and not $30 - which brings the total cost down to $16 - totally in line with most bakeries.
Dec 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: christmas
I don't like to be Scrooge and ruin anyone's Christmas spirit, but Esther's Gift was hardly even a story. I had never picked up a Jan Karon book in spite of acquaintances' glowing reports; based on this choice, I doubt if I ever do. The one redeeming quality is that the basic idea is good - it is fun to have a little story behind favorite recipes, but ... I just didn't enjoy the book.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Esther's Gifts is another quick Christmas read by Jan Karon. Part of her Mitford series, Esther's Gifts is about Esther Bolick, known for baking her Orange Marmalade cake. It's Christmas time and Esther has to decide how many cakes to bake for friends in Mitford. When she realized the financial cost, and the physical burden that goes into each one, her list and desire to bake changes.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-read, holiday
The description said it was 48 pages long, so I wasn't expecting a long story, but the book I picked up only has 37 pages (including the recipe) in a 4" x 5" size. There really isn't much of a story here, but it is ok nonetheless. I really like Abiding Shepherds so I was looking for something like that. Guess I'll have to look somewhere else for something similar.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas-books
I read this on a friend's recommendation. It was actually more of a short story but it was a nice, little Christmas parable about a woman who bakes special cakes as gifts. She almost doesn't do it one year when she calculates the cost. But the lyrics of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" convice her to make the cakes.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
You can read this book in one sitting, but its influence will stay with you for much longer. Poor Esther is overwhelmed by the Orange Marmalade cakes she makes every Christmas and begins to calculate all the costs involved. Without any preaching, she goes through a wonderful transformation as she realizes the true meaning of Christmas. I loved it!
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Born Janice Meredith Wilson in 1937, Jan Karon was raised on a farm near Lenoir, North Carolina. Karon knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She penned her first novel when she was 10 years old, the same year she won a short-story contest organized by the local high school. Karon married as a teenager and had a daughter, Candace.

At 18, Karon began working as a receptionist for
More about Jan Karon

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