To have children or not? For some the answer is straightforward, for others more complicated. An intensely personal, highly emotional topic, it certainly stirs up a lot of feelings in The Greatest Gift, a wonderful new book from the much-loved Rachael Johns.
The poignant, heart-warming story of two women and a life-changing pact, The Greatest Gift also shines a light on the rapidly changing shape of the modern family, and how childhood experiences continue to exert an influence long into adulthood.
One thing for sure, you can’t fence-sit and read The Greatest Gift. The story is so involving and the characters so real, you just have to stop and consider what you’d do in their shoes – how far would you go to make a long-held dream come true? Just don’t expect The Greatest Gift to provide easy answers. Much like real life, the outcome is uncertain, the situation precarious and there are no iron-clad guarantees that things will work out. But you hope they do.
Harper and Claire head a cast of endearing characters who mostly support their momentous decision. There’s fame, power, careers in the media and law, and a setting that moves from high powered urban lifestyles to an unusual family business set amidst the vineyards.
Harper, a respected and well-known radio broadcaster seems to have recovered from being brought up by the worst mother in history. She enjoys a glossy, privileged life with Samuel, her ambitious lawyer husband. Neither want children. All seems perfect until she begins to feel that she really ought to be doing something more worthwhile with her life. Her discontent sets off a chain of events with unexpected consequences.
Claire and her husband Jasper couldn’t be happier running their own hot air balloon company and know they are lucky to find such joy in work and one another. Jasper has accepted he will never be a father, but Claire has found it hard to accept her infertility that is due to a childhood illness. Might Jasper one day regret choosing her over a child in the years to come? Is there another way to become a family?
An emotional on-line request from Claire catches Harper’s attention. They meet and a plan is hatched. But should bring happiness and joy all round. Will it be successful? If so, at what cost?
The Greatest Gift is written with all the style, heart and humanity readers that is trademark Johns. The deliciously poignant twist at the end is lovely. But be warned, you will lose yourself in this book and before you know it you’ll be putting up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and telling everyone to cook their own dinner.
And don’t forget…BYO tissues.
About the Author
Rachael Johns who has been writing since she was 17, is one of Australia’s most popular authors. Not surprisingly, the talented Johns has also carved out an international reputation with her entertaining rural romances and women’s fiction. The bestselling, ABIA award-winning author of The Patterson Girls, also won Favourite Australian Contemporary Romance for one of her most popular books, Jilted in 2012. Johns has an Honours degree in Writing and English, is an English teacher by trade and lives in Perth with her husband, three sons, a ginger cat, a cantankerous bird and a badly behaved, much loved dog.