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A Simple Gift Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 2006

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Fiona Montgomery dropped out of college, stole her mother's pearls and ran off to play in a rock band, she opened a rift between her parents, toy designer Avery and carpenter Mike. Avery longed to re-establish contact, while Mike refused to forgive the daughter who destroyed his faith in a happy home. Now Fiona's back in her hometown of Larkin, Kans., regretful but still fiercely independent and with a baby daughter in tow. After Avery spots her daughter working at a grocery store, old wounds reopen and relationships shift, setting off a chain reaction that threatens to destroy the shaky remains of Avery and Mike's marriage. Meanwhile, the risky expansion of Avery's stuffed-animal business nearly backfires, and Mike must summon the strength to stop enabling his alcoholic younger brother. Witmer, previously known for historical romances (writing as Elizabeth Kary and Elizabeth Grayson), handles familiar emotional territory with skill, using the tumultuous mother-daughter bond to propel the drama. Though characters may move a bit slowly for some readers, and the holiday finale comes as no surprise, this novel will still keep fans of women's fiction smiling and reaching for the tissues. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Avery Montgomery never expected that when her daughter, Fiona, finally returned home, Avery would find her working at the Food-4-Less. Eighteen months ago, Fiona had run away to tour with her boyfriend's rock band, but now all that matters to Avery is that Fiona is back. Then Avery discovers that her husband, Mike, had known Fiona was back in Larkin all along but had somehow decided not to tell Avery. Mike refuses to forgive Fiona for running away, and he doesn't want Avery talking to Fiona. Forced to choose between her husband and her daughter, Avery does the only thing she can think of: search for a way to put her family back together again. With her usual gift for subtly nuanced characters and richly emotional writing, Witmer has created a quietly powerful story about marriage and family, love and friendship, and life's sorrows and joys that is splendidly satisfying. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553584251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553584257
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.4 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,231,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Avery and Mike have worked hard their whole married lives to form the perfect couple. Their daughter Fiona was the welcome addition to create an ideal family. She is close with both her parents, sharing her day to day life with her mom and hours with her father in the amateur observatory they built together. It is the life they always dream, the one they both wanted after their own difficult childhoods. But all their dreams are shattered when Fiona runs away with her boyfriend and their rock band. It seems irretrievably broken when after a year and a half, not even knowing she has returned, her parents run into her working at an area grocery store.

Avery's business takes off with an unexpected order for 50,000 of one of her stuffed animals. She must cope with the business details, her aristocratic mother, and her stubborn husband. While Avery tries to build a tenuous relationship with her daughter, Mike is too hurt to even consider reuniting with his daughter. This fissure causes a break in Mike and Avery's marriage as neither can accept the other's point of view. Mike moves to the family farm to support his alcoholic brother and brood within the observatory that reminds him so much of the good times.

Karyn Witmer has written a story of the depth of family love, both that between husband and wife and between parents and children. It also examines the relationship between husband and wife as a separate relationship from family. It is a difficult concept for many couples, an important part of themselves that needs acceptance and nurturing. She includes two love scenes of Avery and Mike that highlight the love, boht emotional and physical, that continues to exist between couples of all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelley Hartsell VINE VOICE on October 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques

If you want a heart wrenching story full of poignant emotion, then A Simple Gift by Karyn Witmer is for you.

Avery Montgomery's life seemed perfect, until the fateful day her daughter, Fiona, took off with her boyfriend and band mates to get famous in California. Her life hadn't been the same since. So when, a year later, Fiona suddenly reappears at the local grocery store, Avery's life once again turns upside down.

Fiona has been through a lot since she left and has made many mistakes she's afraid to admit to her mother. When Avery tries to re-establish a relationship, Fiona resists, more afraid of what her father, Mike, would do than her mother. Tensions grow even higher, until Avery is forced to a decision - her marriage to Mike, or her relationship with Fiona. Nonetheless, Avery hopes and prays for a reunion of her small family in time for Christmas. Can A Simple Gift be the holiday miracle they all need?

Be prepared, you will need plenty of Kleenex on-hand before you begin A Simple Gift. Emotions are high throughout the entire novel, especially in the last 150 pages or so, which will keep you up all night wanting to finish. I love a novel that can make me feel the whole spectrum of emotions. However, I admit, I usually steer clear of the genre of (non-romance) women's fiction because sometimes it makes me feel too much. But hearing several people talk about how heart-warming - and heart-breaking - A Simple Gift is, I just had to read it for myself. I wasn't disappointed, not by a long shot. I finished the book in three days and with my hectic schedule, that's almost a miracle in itself.

A Simple Gift is a relationship novel, plain and, well... simple. But don't let that fool you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wendy-owner of Rose's Bookhouse on September 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Lynda Burch of Missouri Romance Writers of America

A SIMPLE GIFT is a warm and moving story about a family broken apart and finding a way to heal the rift with their traditional Christmas gift. It is a story of a mother's love, a husband's betrayal, too many secrets and a daughter's independence.

Avery and Mike Montgomery's only child, Fiona, dropped out of college to be a rock band groupie, but after eighteen months of silence she secretly returns to her hometown. Avery's shock at finally finding her daughter safe and sound just miles from home leads the entire family into a crisis of reunion that threatens to tear them apart forever. Cleverly interwoven into this story is a simple, traditional gift that has been passed down through the generations.

Witmer has written an intricate tale with characters you feel like you've known forever. I was drawn in by the complexity of relationships of mother, father and daughter and even the supportive town members.

The town Witmer paints seems like the town next door. My grandmother once said about a book, "Why that's just like a real town." And that's just what this book is-- real. The conflict and drama are poignant, the cast of characters is authentic and the plot is engaging and fresh.

This book makes me want to start a family tradition of a simple gift at Christmas. A SIMPLE GIFT is a keeper and will be pulled off the shelf to be read time and time again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on September 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Do you keep secrets from your spouse/significant other? From your family? When is just a little secret too much to keep?

A Simple Gift will force you to ask yourself those questions. True to form, Witmer/Grayson has written an emotionally rich story of old and new family traditions and family problems. I loved the family history aspect of the story, and of course, Avery & Mike's journey.

This book and a Christmas cactus will make a great gift this holiday season.

As always, I look forward to the next book by this fabulous writer!

(If you're new to this author, you owe it to yourself to check out her backlist!!)
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