The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County . . . until gunshots remind them that someone wants them gone in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Gift. Neil Vance thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna Schwartz’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.
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The Gift: The Amish of Hart County (Avon Inspire, November 2017)
A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series
The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous “accidents” that someone wants them gone.
Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it’s not the Schwartz family’s fault, but he can’t help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can’t stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.
Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a “New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
There is always that one book you read that has a Christmas theme that really reaches into your heart. It softens your bitterness and releases that pinned up anger. You feel comfort and joy knowing that everything is going to be better. This book has exactly all those qualities and so much more. I experienced each emotion with the characters and found then becoming like family to me.
It’s not easy moving to a new place and trying to fit in, but the Schwartz family is trying to do just that. They are happy that they are able to buy such a beautiful farm that had been for sale. It’s hard for me to decide which family member I liked the most because they each contributed to the beauty of the story. I loved the sisters and how well they got along. It was wonderful to read about how they looked out for each other. Soon the family’s happiness turns to danger when “accidents” start happening. Who is sabotaging their farm? Why is someone trying to hurt the family members?
I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to leave the home you loved and watch others move in to it. It would be a bitter pill to swallow. Neil is having to deal with just that scenario. The pain and embarrassment he and his family felt after losing their home was heartbreaking. I know it was especially hard for Neil’s father. I think he was dealing with pride and it was slowly making him withdrawal from everyone.
The story is a beautiful reminder to be content with what you have. We sometimes blame others for something we are responsible for and that leads to bitterness, jealousy and unforgiveness. I loved the intrigue in the story and loved how the author gave subtle hints of who was behind the “accidents.” It was funny that I thought for sure I knew who it was. I was surprised to find out I was wrong. The story is one that will stay with me for a long time. Thank you for reminding us about the true gift of Christmas.
“It ain’t what we have or don’t have that counts. What matters is how we follow our faith and treat others.”
I received a copy of this book from LitFuse. The review is my own opinion.
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