THE GIFT – Shelley Shepard Gray
The Amish of Hart County , Book 3
Amish Inspirational Fiction/Romance
Hart County, Tennessee. The Present
John Schwartz earned a living for himself and his family by working on and managing a farm near Berlin, Ohio, but when he received an inheritance, he was able to buy a farm of their own in Tennessee. He, his wife and three daughters packed up and moved to Hart County and their new place near Horse Cave. They were delighted with the house and the fact that Daed (father) could now be home every night. They were slightly puzzled however when their new neighbors and fellow church members failed to extend a warm welcome.
A reason for that lack of friendliness could be that the community seems to be echoing the feelings of the Vances, the family from whom the Schwartzes bought the farm. Though it was the fault of Mr. Vance that it went so cheap, many blamed Mr. Schwartz for taking advantage. “Accidents” began to happen to the newcomers. First to the oldest daughter, Susanna, when gunshots spooked the horse pulling her buggy home on Thanksgiving night. The buggy went into a ditch and Susanna was thrown out. Luckily, she was rescued by a young man who had an ambulance come and take her to the hospital. More bad luck followed, including an incident that could have killed the youngest daughter, Traci.
Once out of the hospital, Susanna attended church and stayed for the meal afterward. While there, she saw her rescuer and went to thank him. It was an awkward moment to say the least, for he was Neil Vance, son of the man who was forced to sell his house. And she was the daughter of that man whom everyone thought took unfair advantage.
Between the accidents and the unlooked for attraction between the two, the tale becomes very intriguing. Add in the meeting between Neil's best friend, Dale, and Susanna's sister, Amanda and the rest of the interesting characters—family members, the congregation, townsfolk—and you have an absorbing mystery lasting until Christmas.
The first two books in the series are HER SECRET (I gave it a Perfect 10 in March), and HIS GUILT from July. Each book in the series can stand alone, and any book by Ms. Gray is an excellent choice.