On the heels of a horrific hurricane, Hester Detlef, field director for the Mennonite Disaster Service, blows into the life of self-made, shunned Amish man John Hafner. Will she find a way through his shield and into his heart? Although the hurricane has left John homeless and badly injured, the last thing he wants is some do-gooder Mennonite woman intruding in his life. Will his impatience with her intention of restoring his faith and property keep him from accepting this beguiling stranger's kindness?
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Customer Reviews for A Stranger's Gift - eBook
Review 1 for A Stranger's Gift - eBook
Different. Story of the Amish
Date:September 4, 2013
Location:S D CA
This was an excellent story. Showing more of the feelings, yes even the anger that Sarah felt. told by her father to do something, so she did. But, not willingly and not from the center of her heart. So while, a hurricane rages, so does her heart and mind of what she has done. Yet, it seems like every time she is around John, he pushes her buttons. Told in the place of Florida, an Amish-Mennonite center. How people gathered together, beyond their comfort level to help others A lot of lessons are shown in this story. Do we do things whole hearted ? And beyond what we feel comfortable with Excellent book, you won't be disappointed
Hester Detweiler lived in Pinecraft, an Amish and Mennonite community in Sarasota, Florida. Her father, Arlen, was the pastor of a Mennonite church in town. She had cared for her mother five years before she passed away. She was different than a lot of Mennonite woman. She went to nursing school. She was over thirty and not married. She was headstrong and even a little bossy when things needed to get done.
Hester was the lead volunteer for MCC, the Mennonite Central Committee. The MCC helped with disaster relief, community development, and international aid. The MCC's latest project was in Hester's hometown. The area was under a hurricane watch, a hurricane named Hester was brewing along the Gulf Coast.
Hester had many things to get done for the MCC in case the hurricane hit, but her boss sent her to John Steiner's house to take him to a shelter. John was getting special treatment because of his aunt's political postion and Hester was annoyed. John lived alone. He was trying to live totally self sufficient like in Henry David Thoreau's book, Walden: Life in the Woods. The moment John and Hester met they got on each others nerves.. Hester wanted to help John, but he wanted solidarity. Hester's felt her calling in life was to help people. John's goal in life was to be alone.
Even after the hurricane hit and destroyed most of his property, John refused help. Slowly, John's attitude changed after Samuel Brubaker left his camper for him to stay in. Samuel came to Pinecraft because Hester's father was hoping Hester would marry him. He worked with Arlen in his wood shop.
This story is about a community coming together to help family, friends, and neighbors recover from a devastating storm. Everyone involved seemed to be changed after the hurricane. Hester, John and Samuel discovered what they truly wanted to do with their lives.
I think anyone who knows the Sarasota area of Florida would enjoy this book because of they way it is described throughout the story. Having not read any stories about the Mennonites, I wasn't sure if I would like this book. I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. I think A Stranger's Gift was very enjoyable to read. I liked all the characters. Hester was struggling to be the person God wanted her to be. John was running away from who he was. This book is about finding love when it's not expected and trusting God to work out our lives.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest review.
A Stranger's Gift is the first book in Anna's new Women of Pinecraft series. The Amish/Mennonite community of Pinecraft lies within the boundaries of Sarasota, FL. It is a real place, but I doubt it's well known among those Floridians outside of Sarasota. I hope to visit one day. I often wonder how Pinecraft might fare in a bad hurricane, and this book gave me a glimpse into that scenario. I liked Hester Detweiler very much, and identified with her need to help others, often to the detriment of her own need for time for herself. I found John Steiner to be very stubborn, and I couldn't understand his need to shut everyone out, yet I liked him, too. The secondary characters were also well-written, and I hope to learn more about them in future books in the series.
With thanks to Barbour Publishers and NetGalley for my review copy.
What an entertaining read! Hester Detweiler is a Mennonite and has embraced the faith of giving. She is no longer young, 33, and is giving her life to helping others. Her Dad, Arlen, is a Pastor at their church, and a woodworker. He has brought Samuel into his business, also as a prospective husband for Hester. They live in Pinecrest Fl, in an Amish/Mennonite Community, and Hester is working with the MCC. As the story opens their is a devastation Hurricane...Hester...on its way with a direct hit of their area. There is a banned Amishman, living a secluded life nearby. Hester is sent to see if she can get John Steiner to leave. This is a story of forgiveness, and rebuilding, and following God's Will. A very enjoyable read!
A Stranger’s Gift begins with Hester Detweiler working with the Mennonite Central Committee, a national disaster relief organisation, to prepare for Hurricane Hester, which is due to hit her hometown of Pinecraft, Florida. Hester is the local MCC leader, a role that causes some consternation among the more conservative members of the Mennonite congregation her father pastors. They believe that a woman of her age should be channelling her energies into a husband and children, but Hester, at 33, shows no signs of marring (even though there are whispers that her father expects her to marry Samuel Brubaker, the new carpenter he has recently hired).
John Steiner has been banned from his Amish community because he wants to experiment with self-sufficient living in the style of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: A Life in the Woods. He has spent the last two years working alone on his property near Pinecraft, repairing and restoring it, and has no intention of leaving despite the impending arrival of Hurricane Hester.
Although the Amish and the Mennonite faiths are linked by a common Anabaptist heritage, plain dress and a simple, separatist lifestyle, the differences are clear. Hester, a trained nurse, has a college education whereas most Amish leave school when they reach thirteen. The Mennonites also appear to interact much more with the outside community, as evidenced by Hester’s voluntary work for an aid charity. However, Hester is still frustrated by the weight of expectation upon her, to fulfil her place in “a community where sameness was not only preferred by also expected”, when her personal longing was for “something beyond the norm”. John has his own frustrations and an overwhelming sense of guilt that he must overcome. As John and Hester get to know each other, they find that perhaps they can work together for the good of others.
This novel is not at all preachy. Obviously, when a novel is based on the lives of a very conservative Christian denomination there is going to be some religious or spiritual content, but it is not overwhelming or out of place. It is a story of two individuals who don’t quite fit in with the way they were raised, and who individually and together come to realise (and convince those around them) that God can work though many different types of people. Overall, this was a very enjoyable novel and I would certainly read more from Anna Schmidt. The second novel in The Women of Pinecraft series, A Sister’s Forgiveness, is due to be published in May 2012.
Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing a free ebook to review.