Post Title: My Christmas Find for 2020

A Novel To Savor

New Tradition

I thought it would be fun to start a tradition of recommending a Christmas book each December. I stumbled upon this gem, “Desire of my Heart: A Shumard Oak Bend Novel by Heidi Gray McGill in my Inspirational Reads and Authors Facebook Group.

I was drawn to the book, in part, when I learned a little about McGill and found we had some common philosophies. She shared the following:

“I love to travel, especially to foreign lands even though I speak no foreign language. I embrace the culture, the food, and even the inconveniences. My parents instilled this passion in me from an early age. We often hosted visiting missionaries and I would listen to their stories of God working in their lives and the lands where they lived. I learned early on that smiles, laughter and hugs create a universal language all its own—a language spoken from the heart.

Before children, I worked as a fundraiser for several Universities and eventually the American Red Cross—where adventure was always one storm away. After raising my two girls (a completely different type of adventure), I founded, and am currently the Director of, an English as a Second Language program in my hometown. You can read more about that in my blog at

A traveler, a Christian, a smiler and an ESL person? I wanted to check out her novel!

As a bonus, I learned this about her:

“Trusting God through fear, trouble, and deep heartache.”

When I wrote Desire of My Heart, I was, in a way, writing my own story. Rachel, the main character, has a deep faith that doesn’t grow fully until she has been dealt some devastating heartaches. She struggles with depression and comes out on the other side gloriously new in mind and spirit.

My favorite verse is woven throughout the lines of my book: “’May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” 1 Samuel 1:18. Choosing joy in all circumstances is a decision I make daily…

Although I write in a different genre, I share scriptures and messages that encourage me.

My Review

desire of my heart book cover

Okay, let’s get to the review:

This is my favorite kind of book – the kind that’s easy to pick up and get lost in.

This novel took me back to the days where entire communities interacted, and neighbors cared for each other. Problem-solving meant taking it to the Lord in prayer, and friends pitching in to help each other. Bad things happened but good could come out of it.

McGill’s protagonist is an eighteen-year-old orphan who, in an effort to sidestep an unwanted marriage union, flees with her younger brother from the orphanage in the understanding she will care for a traveler’s five-year-old son and newborn baby. She weds the man and they travel to the middle of Missouri to settle the land.

The novel has many surprising twists and turns, and several memorable characters, whose actions show what can transpire when various members of a community pool their faith together, pray for each other and respect each other.

It appears this is the author’s first novel. However, the quality of writing is authentic, with complex characters and vivid scenes. The characters are faced with both internal and external circumstances that keep the reader focused and wanting to turn the page.

Though homesteading in Missouri is far from easy, it seems simpler than life is today. With fewer choices, people gravitate toward members in and out of the community that show empathy and extend grace.

What I love most about this novel is seeing strong family ties and good-hearted people living out their faith. I feel that is sadly lacking in today’s politically-correct society where faith is tamped down and is often showcased in particular circumstances.

This well-written, first-time novel receives 5 out of 5 stars from me. Just lovely and engrossing. I highly recommend it.

This is the link to McGill’s Desire of my Heart: A Shumard Oak Bend Novel (Discerning God’s Best Series) :

My Gift to You

As my Christmas gift to you, for every person who comments on my blog, your name will be placed in a jar. I’ll shake it up and choose a name. You will receive your choice of a kindle or paperback version of this book.
Make sure you comment to be entered into the drawing!

There is a terrific Christmas scene in this novel! What is your favorite Christmas book or scene in a book?

You have just read “A Christmas Find for 2020” by Amy L. Bovaird. © December 8, 2020. All rights reserved.