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3.9 out of 5
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    This is a wonderful Amish story.

    I had not read book #1 in this series before reading this one. There were enough references to it and things from that story that it probably would have been better to do so. At the same time I was able to fully follow everything that happened in this novel without having done so. Therefore it isn’t exactly necessary to read it first. I loved Leah Mast and I’m guessing that she is probably one of the secondary characters in the previous book. She is comfortable with the life that she has living with her parents and giving reflexology treatments to help others. That is her whole focus in life living the way God wants her to and helping others. I was able to really connect with her on both of those points and that added to my enjoyment of the story. I wanted her to add a loving, romantic relationship to that so that her life could be even more fulfilling. When introduced to Adam Beachy and the story of his childhood started to come out my heart ached for all that he had been through. I can’t imagine the feelings of rejection that he and his sister would have had to deal with. I really enjoyed reading his journey as he tried to work through some of the past and the heartache with God’s help. I hope that we get to see more of Adam and Leah in future books so that we can see how they are getting along. I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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    A lovely Amish novel!

    The Gift by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the second book in Prairie State Friends series. Leah Mast learned reflexology from her Grandmother Yoder as a teenager and she uses those skills to help those in her community. Since she is not licensed, she only accepts donations for her services. Adam Beachy is really against reflexology (there has to be a story behind his attitude) and makes it a point to tell Leah about his feelings when he gives her a lift home during the rain (she was riding her bike). Adam is on his front porch waiting for the arrival of his sister, Mary and her family when police officers arrive. They were in an auto accident. Mary and her husband, Amos were severely injured and did not make it. Adam is left with taking care of their three girls (Amy-10, Linda-7, and Carrie-4). Adam is used to living alone and running his hardware store. Adam does not have a clue how to raise three girls. Leah’s mother until she has to go take care of her sister who is pregnant and bedridden. Leah takes over the care of the girls during the day. She schedules her reflexology appointments for evenings when she is at home (she feels that her talents for healing are a gift from God). When Leah tries to take care of Amy’s headache one day with reflexology, Adam is very upset. He insists that Leah not use it on any of his children. What does Adam have against reflexology? Adam is grateful for Leah’s help with the children, but he needs a wife. The children care for Leah and respond to her. Adam proposes a marriage of convenience. Will it work out between Adam and Leah? Cora Finley is a nurse in Chicago, Illinois. She is divorced and has a teenage son named Jared. Jared has been getting into trouble since the divorce. He has been hanging around with the wrong crowd. Cora has decided to move to a more rural area and get her son away from the bad influences. Cora gets a job in Arthur, Illinois at a clinic. Cora’s past, though, is about to catch up with her. Jonah Miller and Sara have married and are expecting their first child. Jonah was courting Elaine Schrock until her grandmother became ill. Elaine had to take care of her grandmother, Edna so she told Jonah a little lie (that she did not care for him). Elaine was hoping that Jonah would still be available after her grandmother passed away and that he would understand her reasoning. Unfortunately, Jonah married Sara within a few months. Elaine has started the dinners again at her farm (English visitors get a traditional Amish dinner and can ask questions about their life and culture) trying to move forward, but she misses Jonah. The Gift was a typical Wanda E. Brunstetter novel. It is well-written and enjoyable to read. There is a lot going on in the novel, but it all ties together. I give The Gift 4 out of 5 stars (which means I liked it, but I did not love it). This is the second book in the series, but it can be read without reading the previous book (but it really helps to have read The Decision). I received a complimentary copy of The Gift in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
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