My monthly newsletter book reviews can be found on my Reviews of what I’m Reading page. But as I read more than one book a month, I leave other reviews here on my blog. They also get posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
Having read and very much enjoyed Protected, Paula Peckham’s first book in the San Antonio series, I was delighted to follow Abby and Manny into this new period of their lives and to bring you my review of A Father’s Gift.
They are married, and about to become parents. It’s a joyful prospect but not plain sailing.
Manny has reverted to his self-doubting ways, worried about his ability to be a good father. His own father died when Manny was very young, and under circumstances which leads Manny to wonder if he too, will be a flawed parent.
More immediately, he’s terrified that his ignorance of birthing babies will mean letting Abbey down at the actual birth.
Click on the image to find A Father’s Gift on Goodreads.
(There are some lovely light moments when Manny secretly garners information about pregnancy and birth by eavesdropping on visitors to the pregnant wife of a friend he is helping out. He shares his bit and pieces of knowledge with his equally ignorant best friend Jonathan, neither of them able to make much sense of it.)Meanwhile, Abby has worries of her own. She is constantly sick, way beyond the time when morning sickness should have passed, and she fears for the life she is carrying. Getting through her chores and caring for her husband is often impossible, and she feels both grateful and guilty at how Manny steps up to the mark. She also worries about the birth and the very real possibility of dying, as so many women did, especially given her sickness.
Then Manny meets Gabe, an older man passing through San Antonio who gives him a helping hand when Manny needs it. Realising he needs further help to get the farm ready for winter, he offers Gabe bed and board in return for labour. But at this difficult time, Abby isn’t at all happy about having an extra mouth to feed, and a stranger in her tiny home.
Against this background, Manny decides he needs to find out what exactly happened to his father. An ill-timed quest as far as Abby is concerned, but more importantly, it unexpectedly turns out to be a highly dangerous one as well.
Given this is a novella, there’s a lot of story packed in: fast moving, dramatic, with twists you never see coming. If that’s not enough to keep you glued to the page, Ms Peckham’s characters are, as ever, sympathetically and deeply drawn, making for an emotional read. I was totally enmeshed in their doubts and worries, and cheered their courage in finding ways to cope, and eventually to triumph. Highly recommended.