Monday, April 11, 2022

The Gift of Joy (Unexpected Gifts Book 2) by Kristen McKanagh

 Book Details:

Title:  The Gift of Joy

Series:  Unexpected Gifts Book 2

Author:  Kristen McKanagh

Publisher:  Berkley

Pages:  302

Release Date:  April 26, 2022


Book Description:

Life is full of joy when it's least expected in this sweet Amish romance from the author of The Gift of Hope.

Joshua Kanagy’s older brother has left the family gift shop business, which is wonderful gute for Aaron, but not for Joshua. Horses are his talent—raising and training them. But how can Joshua step away from the shop when his parents have already had to give up the dream of leaving their legacy to all three of their sons?

Enter Joy Yoder, a determined, if sometimes misguided, helper who always manages to drag Joshua into her schemes and promises. Only now her focus turns to finding a solution to his problem, partly to distract from her own. Her mamm has her heart set on Joy marrying the minister’s son, and she’s not sure she wants to.

Joy gets the grand idea to propose to Joshua, offering a partnership of convenience rather than love. But as the wedding approaches, Joy starts to develop feelings for Joshua. Is it possible Gotte’s plan for Joy includes faith, friendship, and love?

About the Author:  Kristen McKanagh

Romance author Kristen McKanagh writes sweet contemporary romance & Amish romance. She loves plots that warm the soul, feisty heroines with sass, heroes with heart, a dash of snark, and oodles of HEAs! Other titles include wife, mother, Star Wars geek, ex-competitive skydiver, spreadsheet lover, eMBA, organizational guru, Texan, Aggie, and chocoholic.

Kristen attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing) and an MBA. However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

Kristen currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own swoon-worthy hero, their amazing kids, who are growing up way too fast, and 2 adorable fur babies.

My Thoughts:  A True Gift of Joy

Joy Yoder's childhood friend, Joshua Kanagy, loves working with horses and helping out at her father's horse business. While that arrangement has been working out just fine, it runs into a snag when Joshua's family needs him to work at their shop.  This poses a challenge for Joshua, because he wants to keep working with horses, but he also knows his family is depending on him.  Meanwhile, Joy is facing challenges of her own. She's trying to find a way to do more with her quilting while doing her best to keep her mother's attempts of marrying her off to the minister's son from becoming a reality.  

Through the years, Joshua has been pulled into being an unwilling, and sometimes willing,  participant in Joy's well-meaning schemes. Joy knows how much Joshua would love to continue working with horses rather than work at his family's shop, and she knows that he needs a solution for his dilemma. Joy also knows that she needs a solution for her own situations, which of course gives Joy a grand idea that she's sure will solve everything for Joshua and and for her. However, what she doesn't know is that her plan may just turn out in a way she never would have imagined.

The Gift of Joy is a wonderful story!  I was completely drawn in from the first page, and I didn't put it down until I had read the entire book. It was fun, entertaining, heartwarming and just simply delightful. Joy truly is a joy.  She has such a huge heart and really just genuinely wants to help people and her grand schemes, which can be somewhat impulsive at times, are just her way of helping. Even though Joshua is a little grounded, Joy manages to pull him into her schemes one way or another.  And that is just part of what makes this story such a joy, pun intended, to read.  Joy and Joshua's interactions, as well as the interactions with the other characters, had me smiling, sighing, hold my breath, laughing out loud, and even pushed me to frustration a time or two. Yes, it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride for me, but those elements combined are what made this such a wonderful and delightful story that in the end left me smiling and saying, "That story was a true gift of joy!"

***I received a copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.  All comments and opinions are strictly my own.

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