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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
The Gift by Wanda Brunstetter took me on an amazing journey to Amish country, introducing me to characters that became friends as I read their stories. At twenty-five, Leah Mast is content to practice her gift of reflexology in her community to help others, but that doesn't stop her longings to become a wife and mother. Adam Beachy thinks that he is content living as a bachelor; after all, something from his childhood soured him on marriage. But when he winds up as the caretaker of his three nieces, he needs help. Even though he doesn't see eye to eye with Leah and her ideas on reflexology, he hires her to take care of the girls. It doesn't take Adam long to realize that he should marry Leah, but will she agree to a marriage of convenience when she longs for so much more?
The Gift is the second book in The Prairie State Friends series and, even though I hadn't read the first book in the series, I had no problems following the storyline. In a well written novel, Ms. Brunstetter creates a storyline where I felt like I became a part of the characters' lives. The ups and downs of everyday living are captured perfectly. Loss and love, hopes and longings - the author allows the characters' emotions to flow from the pages. Speaking of characters, I really enjoyed Leah; she was such a well written character, one that was truly easy to relate to. Her love of hummingbirds and the information the author wove into the story was interesting to read. The topic of reflexology was something else that held my attention. Adam's character was easy to understand; my heart truly went out to him as he struggled with issues from his past.
A riveting plot kept me glued to the pages - one minute the story would be going smoothly and then bam, the author would throw in a twist that was sometimes gut wrenching and other times not, but each twist kept me wondering what might happen next. There were a few story lines going on within the main tale and Ms. Brunstetter blends them together perfectly, providing an ending that certainly leaves this reader longing for the next book in The Prairie State Friends series. Fans of Amish fiction will devour The Gift, but anyone dealing with love, loss, and family issues really should give this one a try. Wanda Brunstetter is one of my favorite authors in the Amish genre because her work always provides inspirational messages while also describing real life issues that happen to take place in an Amish setting!