The First Gift  -     By: Ruth Logan Herne
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The First Gift

Franciscan Media / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

The First Gift, by Ruth Logan Herne

Cassie Carruthers is a five year old little girl who's alchoholic father is neglecting her.  Kerry McHenry is the girls kindergarten teacher who chooses to help Cassie become everything God wants her to be.  Kerry is torn between a doctor who can not commit to a relationship and a widowed depuyty sheriff who is still angry with God.  

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Franciscan Media
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 1616369574
ISBN-13: 9781616369576

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Publisher's Description

Bringing to mind classics like Catherine Marshall’s Christy, society’s standards are put to the test and a Northern Appalachian town comes together to save a neglected child in Ruth Logan Herne’s new romance, The First Gift. This poignant novel tells the story of five-year-old Cassie Carruthers, who lives in a bug-infested shack in the hills of Western New York’s Southern Tier. Her mother has died and Cassie spends her days fending for herself while her alcoholic father drinks himself into a stupor. But Cassie’s isolation has not gone unnoticed in the tightknit community of Phillipsburg. When a concerned neighbor alerts the county, the community sets a plan in motion to rescue the neglected little girl. Through fundraising efforts, Cassie is tucked into the kindergarten classroom of independent, beautiful Kerry McHenry. Kerry has her work cut out for her in dealing with Cassie’s depressed father, but despite the child’s loveless start in life, she soon reveals herself to be an intelligent, eager student. Moreover, she possesses a resourcefulness that has saved her life more than once—and will be called upon again. Kerry McHenry is nobody’s fool. She sees her own tough upbringing in Cassie’s dire situation, so she works tirelessly to guide the young girl, trying to help her become everything that God wants her to be. At the same time, she finds herself torn between a commitment-phobic pediatric oncologist from a nearby town and Phillipsburg’s widowed deputy sheriff, a complicated man who is still angry with God. As the stakes grow ever higher and the characters’ lives intersect in unexpected ways, each will face a true test of faith—and come face to face with indisputable evidence of God’s love.

Author Bio

Ruth Logan Herne is the author of nearly thirty novels and novellas, mostly in Christian Romance (Homestead Brides Collection, etc.), and Westerns (Back in the Saddle). She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate, and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone. She loves talking with readers through her website blog ( and hanging with readers and writers in Seekerville (

Editorial Reviews

"Poignant and powerful, Ruth Logan Herne packs a heart-and-soul punch with a tender love story that will not only haunt and inspire, but change you forever." —Julie Lessman, award-winning author, the Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series
"Ruth Logan Herne is a storyteller through and through. A charming mix of endearing characters, especially a little girl who steals your heart from page one, bring to life the struggle of northern Appalachia’s poorest as a dedicated teacher determines to save one child." —Myra Johnson, two-time American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)
Carol Award finalist, author, The Sweetest Rain
"A tender, wise story of choices and learning to trust, The First Gift touched my heart. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough." —Linda Goodnight, New York Times bestselling author and winner of numerous awards, including the RITA Award for excellence in inspirational fiction and the ACFW Book of the Year

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
3.8 out Of 5
(3.8 out of 5)
3.8 out Of 5
(3.8 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.2 out Of 5
(4.2 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 6
Page 1 of 2 12 Next
  1. Dunedin, FL
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Heartwarming novel!
    November 27, 2016
    The Avid Reader
    Dunedin, FL
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The First Gift by Ruth Logan Herne is set in Phillipsburg, New York. Cassandra Cassie Carruthers is four years old (at the very beginning of the novel). Her mother passed away when she was little and Cassie lives with her father. Cassies father, Jed is a drunk and neglectful (grieving). But the local community has noticed Cassies situation, and they want to help her. The father will now allow what he calls charity, so they need to get creative. Cassie turns out to be very clever. The local pastors take up a collection to pay for Cassie to go to Daystar (a private school). Cassie is put into Kerry McHenrys class. Kerry will be able to help Cassie and guide her. Join the citizens of Phillipsburg as they set out to help one special little girl.

    The First Gift is a well-written, engaging, and heartwarming novel. There are a couple of slow sections that dealt with Kerrys boyfriend, Ryan (but they set things up for later in the novel). The First Gift is a Christian novel with the main theme being that with God all things are possible. There is also hope, forgiveness, love, helping others and much more. I give The First Gift 4.25 out of 5 stars. The one problem I had with the book was the multiple POVs (there are quite a few characters in the novel). It was confusing at times (and distracting). I think the novel would have been better if told from one point-of-view (a narrator would have been perfect). I need to warn you that towards the end of the novel you will need to have the tissues (or a hanky) handy.
  2. Clover, SC
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Heart Moving!
    October 24, 2016
    Clover, SC
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I just finished this book with tears streaming down my face and crying out loud. Literally. I'm totally serious. I was moved greatly.

    In a little, close knot Appalachian community, a small child is neglected, hungry and cold. The community takes it upon themselves to change this little child's life. You've heard the old saying, 'it takes a village.' It applies here. A deputy sheriff, a young school teacher, a bus driver, an old lady, the list goes on. This was one of the most moving books I've read. From the first page, I told my husband that this book was going to break my heart.And it did, in places. But oh, the heart-soaring joy it brought me! So much and so many emotions. Ruth Logan Herne knows her stuff. She can plumb the very depths of human emotion. Boy, can she ever! I was in amazement during parts of this story. I'm so very glad I read it. God is good. And He waits. He loves us. Boy, does He love us.

    * I was given a copy of this book by Net Galley. My review is honest and my own.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Poignant and touching. Don't let #TheFirstGift by Ruth Logan Herne pass your radar without reading it.
    October 16, 2016
    Just Commonly
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    "When things got bad or she got hurt, Cassie would catch her bottom lip between her teeth and squeeze hard enough to feel the pain. Doing that kept her from crying. Quiet was her best choice. She'd figured that out a long time ago." (102)

    Cassie is five. She's a smart little five-year-old, but what she goes through knocks hard into your heart. It makes you want to grab her and hug her and just make things right for her. The First Gift by Ruth Logan Herne tells of a story in a poor and rural area, where life for adults, let alone little ones can be quite difficult. As the caring community comes together to rally for this one little girl, we readers see the light a single gift of love can give to a girl, and to themselves.

    I was rendered speechless as I close the last page of The First Gift. It tugged so hard the many heartstrings my role as a reader, a Christian, a wife, and a female, not to mention the natural motherly instincts, I couldn't help but be drawn to it. The author has done a marvelous job showing the contradiction between society's rules and the very basic human decency. With faith, we come together to let God be our guide. Many times through the story, I couldn't help it but yell out or hold back tears. Despite the deep emotional pull of The First Gift, we also have a little romance (more like a triangle) and some fun characters that showed us a little of the author's humor. (The quote below about us women totally cracked me up!) Kerry's focus lies with Cassie most of the time, yet her relationships with Ryan and Jack brings out a realistic element of romance that isn't just about kisses, going out to eat, or just the two people involved. I appreciated this aspect of the storyline, adding in the familial facet to it.

    In all, the poignancy of The First Gift, along with the message of love in God's timing, makes for a touching story. I had a hard time leaving The First Gift. I don't think my review gives it enough praise as it deserves. Filled with multiple message and themes, it needs to be discussed and shared. It will make a great book for book clubs and shared amongst friends. I hope you'll enjoy this one as much as I do.

    "Pray for it...Pray for the insight, the ability to believe. Pray for his guidance, his eternal love. Faith will come when you turn yourself over to Christ fully. But I can't promise there won't be doubts...Life isn't easy. Doubts come. They're part of the package." (161)

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
  4. Erie, PA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    In God's Timing
    September 14, 2016
    Erie, PA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Cassie Caruthers longs for a normal childhood. Cassie lives in squalor and neglect with her widowed, alcoholic birth farther. She is so detached from him that she calls him "the man." Social Services does some careful stepping to get Cassie into the school system and into a nurturing environment. Through God's providence, Kerry McHenry is her Kindergarten teacher.

    We also meet Ray and Jake, both men aim to win Kerry's heart. Ray, an oncologist, is wrapped up in himself and doesn't appreciate the gift of Kerry. Jake, who works for the sheriff's department, is widowed with his two, biracial little boys. He's just coming back to the dating scene and wants to protect his sons from any flighty romances of his.

    Enjoy this unfolding story as new relationships are formed.

    Thanks to Franciscan Media for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
  5. Illinois
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Realistic Heartfelt Read for The First Gift
    September 9, 2016
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Reading The First Gift, by gifted author Ruth Logan Herne, readers will need a box of tissues. I was anxious to start reading The First Gift after reading the synopsis, endorsements and acknowledgements of this realistic true to life story.

    Cassie Carruthers lives in her make believe world in her northern Appalachian community with an uncaring, alcoholic father, after her mother died who had a nice career before being addicted to alcohol and drugs. Cassie basics needs were overlooked by him, but thankfully a caring neighbor made sure Cassie had something to eat each day. A social worker became involved for Cassie to attend school. The public school was not the best setting for Cassie as she was bright, but lacked in expressing herself with emotions and social skills. The staff knew Kerry McHenry was just the teacher for Cassie, but she taught at the Daystar Academy. Needless to say individuals stepped forward to sponsor Cassie to attend Daystar Academy. Kerry related to Cassie and what a beautiful transformation. There are many twists and turns with heartbreaking events at times, but others that are joyous that shows what one individual or a group of caring individuals can do when they live their faith and love for God to the fullest. Kerry has her own story throughout this great read, as two men are pursuing her. So readers will appreciate the beauty of Kerrys heart finding love for life with a family.

    Ruths stories are filled with life challenges for families and children, along with the love God bestows to all. The First Gift tugged heavily at my heartstrings with my profession in social services. A beautiful story showing the difference caring and loving individuals can make in a poor childs life. I look forward to many more heartfelt books from Ruth Logan Herne.

    I received a complimentary copy of The First Gift from the author for my honest opinion which I have shared.
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