The Gift of Faith
By Kristen McKanagh
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The rewards of faith are plentiful in this sweet Amish romance from the author of The Gift of Joy.
The quietest of the three Kanagy boys, Daniel, would prefer to spend his time keeping his bees and selling the honey rather than tending his family’s gift shop. But with both his brothers breaking away from the family business, his parents need Daniel more than ever.
Contrary to town gossip, Faith Kemp didn’t jump the fence—she left to track down her twin sister, Mercy. When Faith returns home with a newborn baby, the rumors are tough to set right, and not everyone in the community is welcoming. To help support her family, Faith sells dried flower arrangements to the popular gift shop in town. Each visit, she looks forward to seeing Daniel Kanagy. He doesn’t say much, but his steady strength speaks to her just the same.
With girls buzzing around Daniel and trying to catch his eye, why would he turn his gaze to a quiet, plain girl who has a baby and too many rumors about her?
This is the first novel that I have read by this author, and it won’t be the last! Faith Kemp invited me into this sweet Amish romance from the beginning, and I was happy to stay in Charity Creek, Indiana throughout. Each of the characters are defined well through their actions, expressions, and conversations. The descriptions of Faith, especially, then Mercy and Daniel, were so excellent, I could feel what Faith had experienced. Third in a series, each one focuses on a different person, so each can be read as standalones.
Faith returned to her parents’ home after several years of searching for her twin sister, Mercy, who had run away. Amish teens have a period of time of before they are baptized and become members of their church when they see some of the world outside their Amish district. They might have non-Amish friends, dress as non-Amish teens do, have a cell phone, and some will even get a car. This is their opportunity to learn about the English/ outside world before becoming a member of the church and settling down with an Amish spouse. Faith was always content living in community with other Amish people. Her twin sister, Mercy, was not. Mercy left, and her family didn’t know where she went.
Faith was determined to find Mercy and bring her home. She never gave up her Amish garb or beliefs, and lived the Amish life to the best of her ability, including not using electricity in rooms she rented, while seeking her sister. She followed every lead she could; when running low on funds, she would get another job and work until saving enough money to continue searching.
When she found Mercy, her twin was living far from the values they were raised with. She was working two jobs to pay all the bills while her boyfriend played video games. Faith rented a room nearby, and would go clean her apartment as well as work so Mercy could rest. After Mercy gave birth to her baby girl, Faith took the little one, who she named Rose, back home. The sisters had agreed that it was the best thing for Rose considering her boyfriend didn’t care for babies and Faith adored little ones. It wasn’t easy, as several Amish women speculated that Rose was really Faith’s baby. Anyone who knew the sisters for any length of time believed Faith, but there was still much whispering and gossip bandied about.
Daniel, whose family lives on the next farm, had a crush on Faith long before she left to find Mercy. They began talking with each other for the first time since her return. When they want to get to know each other better, neither are sure how the other one feels and several things happened.
Shortly before Faith returned, her parents made plans to sell the farm, but didn’t tell her when she returned. Malachi, the new owner, arrived. She panicked, wondering how she could make enough money to support herself and Rose. The new owner would allow her parents to spend the rest of their lives in the small grandparents’ house on the property. In their correspondence with Malachi, they told him about Faith. He is looking for an Amish wife. She always wanted to be a wife and mother, but hoped to choose her husband. Her parents want her to consider Malachi. What could she tell Daniel?
Then, what Faith had hoped and prayed about over five years, happened. Mercy came home, but not to become Amish or marry an Amish man. She wanted her precious little girl who Faith had been raising for close to a year.
Full of family drama, faith, and emotions, this novel is captivating and satisfying in every way. The characters are very well depicted through words, actions, hopes and dreams. While I don’t typically read romance novels, I do appreciate Amish fiction and enjoyed getting to know these young women, Daniel, and Malachi. Each is unique, and Faith in particular was very courageous to leave the sheltered community she loved to find her twin and bring her baby home to raise.
I like how the author explained some of the Amish practices as it was very helpful. While the list of Pennsylvania Dutch words in the back were helpful, there were several words not included. Overall, this is an excellent novel, especially for those who appreciate Amish novels, sweet romance, and family drama, and I highly recommend it.