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Reviewed by Brenda Daniels for Readers' Favorite
The Birthday Gift is a Christian novelette by Betty Collier. The plot opens with the devastating news that Mrs. Williams’s husband, Bill, would not be returning home to the USA from a work trip in Israel. Bill had been killed at Heathrow airport and Mrs. Williams’s immediate response was to have a cardiomyopathy that required hospitalization. As the story unfolds, we learn that Bill had been injured in the navy a number of years prior and this had affected his fertility. Just before his death, Bill had bought their only child, daughter Bella, a ‘priceless’ gift for her upcoming sixteenth birthday. It is this gift that serves as the story’s motivation both for good and for bad, for murder, forgiveness, healing, and for eternal life. This gift is carefully explained in the afterword by Terry Gurley.
I enjoyed the explanatory chapter headings in Betty Collier’s short book and the clever way the author slowly reveals The Birthday Gift’s back story. This keeps the tension and makes for a satisfying ending in this well-thought-out plot. Although rather sentimental, the personal story woven into the Christian message makes the latter relevant. However, at times this Christian message is somewhat overt, and although Terry Gurley’s explanation of the Gospel Symbol in the afterword is well-presented, it might be a tad complex for the average reader. I listened to the audio version of The Birthday Gift, my favorite way to enjoy a story. Because the tale does not have much in the way of dialogue, there is little call for character differentiation by the narrator, Sarah Harrison. But Harrison’s narration is seamless and appropriately suited to the book’s tone.