Title: The Gift (The Amish of Hart County #3)
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Pages: 248 (ARC)
Publisher: Avon Inspire
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
Susanna Schwartz and her family are excited to be living on their own farm for the first time ever. Her father had to work for an Englisher on a farm until they could save enough money to buy their own farm. They have had to leave their Amish community in Ohio and move to Kentucky, but they are looking forward to making new friends as well as celebrating Christmas in their new home. Soon after the move in, Susanna has a buggy accident when her horse is spooked by some gunshots fired too close to the buggy. The shooter is not caught and she begins to think maybe a hunter had some shots go astray. She learns that the local community isn’t very friendly toward her family. The circumstances of the family who had lived on the farm previously and had been forced to sell their home are made known to her. She meets one of the sons of that family, who she forms a friendship with after some awkward and tense conversations. Then, someone destroys part of the fence on the family’s property. Susanna begins to suspect someone wants them to leave the farm.
Neil Vance was angry and embarrassed that the whole community knew his family had to sell their farm due to their father’s poor investments and then gambling debts. He takes out his anger on Susanna upon their first conversation. He knows he has treated her unkindly. He apologizes and then forms a friendship with her. He begins to take her seriously about someone wanting them off the farm when several incidents occur, each one more dangerous than the last. They take their suspicions to the local sheriff, but he doesn’t seem to take them seriously. Is her family going to have to live in fear indefinitely?
I have read the other two books in this series and found them to be suspenseful, but this third book lacked that element for me. It was evident to me who the culprit was early in the story, and the ending proved anticlimactic. I did like the characters’ appreciation for God’s creation in nature and their emphasis on faith and family. This is not a bad book by any means; it just didn’t captivate me like some of the author’s other books. Sometimes a book and a reader just don’t mesh, and this was one of those books for me. I will continue to read her writings and look forward to what she publishes next.
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