THE FIRST GIFT
Five-year-old Cassie Carruthers fends for herself while her father drinks himself into a stupor. But her isolation has not gone unnoticed as a northern Appalachian works to rescue the neglected little girl. Kerry McHenry, the kindergarten teacher, sees her own tough upbringing in Cassie's dire situation. As she throws herself into helping Cassie become everything God wants her to be, she finds herself torn between a commitment-phobic doctor and a widowed deputy sheriff still angry with God. As the stakes grow ever higher and the characters' lives intersect in unexpected ways, each will face a true test of faith - and come face-to-face with indisputable evidence of God's love.
I'm suffering from the woe-is-me-I-read-that-book-way-too-fast-and-now-I'm-going-to-miss-it blues. Sniffle. But that's the kind of book The First Gift is. You can't stop yourself from reading at a voracious speed even though you want the story to last forever. Such a reader dilemma! And Ruth Logan Herne does it to me every time because she writes from the heart and I love an emotionally charged novel.
This is complex, true-to-life stuff with all the gnarly bits included. Cassie's story moved me to tears -- of both sorrow and joy. In fact, I'll just issue a five tissue box alert right here and now. I sobbed at the end - a ragged crying jag because this book messed with so many emotions I just had to get it all out. Very cathartic. It left me with a better understanding of how God really does direct our paths, even at the unlikeliest of times. How His big picture is so much better than my narrow-minded view. The First Gift is worth the read just for Hannah's sage wisdom and down-to-earth counsel. Not to mention Father Cumming's no nonsense approach to spirituality. Loved them both to pieces.
This story reminds me of the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." And, you know what? In the process the child raises the adults to a higher level -- including the reader.
There's a lot to celebrate in this novel: racial diversity among the characters, the power of God to change hearts, the encouragement to find hope even during the darkest times. And I haven't even touched on the romance! Which is just as gnarly and realistic as the rest of the book. My heart raced. My knees buckled. And it hurt, a lot, before it got better 'cause I just wasn't sure if I trusted Ruthy to make it right the way I wanted it to be right.
What more can I say except if ever a book begged to be turned into a movie script -- this one is it!
My deepest gratitude to the author for providing me with a copy of this book.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The First Gift please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 11 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!