His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

We shared reviews of His Gift on October 10, 2020 and December 5, 2020, and here’s another review for this terrific novel!

His Gift: This historical novel is suitable for all ages, but the main character is in her late teens. This book is written to appeal to the YA audience, the NA audience, and every adult who has ever cared to dream.

Brace yourself for a thrilling race with twists and turns as a young woman is determined to see her dream come true. On the cusp of the stock market crash of 1929, seventeen-year-old Molly has aspirations for a career in music after high school. With the passion of an athlete preparing for the Olympics, she trains relentlessly to become the best she can be.

As her world collapses in unimaginable ways, she is left to find peace and purpose in the midst of her crisis. The message of His Gift is universal to anyone who has ever dared to dream in spite of uncontrollable circumstances. With Molly, the reader will discover the hope and peace found in a life yielded to the Giver of all gifts.

Review of His Gift by Elaine Johnson:

In life, it is easy for us to set goals that we think will bring us a touch of fame, fortune, or celebrity. Our thoughts may have developed from experiences with childhood recognition or a parent’s prodding, but sometimes it arises from an inner longing to develop a natural gift because of the innate satisfaction it brings. Such was the case with Molly, the 17-year-old protagonist of His Gift. Because of her musical ability, her desire to play professionally became a driving force, and she pursued her goal with determination and perseverance. However, when the opportunity came that would catapult her into a professional career, unforeseeable obstacles threatened her dream. The Great Depression had personal consequences she never imagined.

Readers may be able to relate to Molly as they recall their childhood visions of playing football in the NFL, competing in gymnastics at the Olympics, or having their art work hung in prestigious galleries. But few childhood dreams contain the resolve we see in Molly. Her faith in God carries her through her difficulties, though she doesn’t understand how God is working in her life. Many of us have shared that confusion during the pandemic of 2020. How can God allow these circumstances you may have wondered?

Benson’s research into this time period stays true to history, and opens our eyes to the struggles many endured in the 1930s. Her impeccable attention to details would bring a smile to my face, sometimes bringing my own past to mind.

Molly’s courage waffles up and down as she faces her challenges. At last, Molly relinquishes her grip on what she believed was hers and releases it to God’s Sovereignty. She begins to understand that His Gift was not given for Molly’s individual fame or fortune, but for God’s honor and glory. This lesson is for all of us. When we stop trying to do things our way and actively live according to His plan, then we will find deep joy, peace, and contentment.

~ Elaine Johnson, M.S. Education

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Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan Benson is a freelance writer, a former (K-8) classroom teacher and reading specialist, and a wife a mother of four adult children. She enjoys traveling to spend time with her eight cherished grandchildren who live in various parts of the nation. Joan has produced devotional materials for CBN.com, written numerous magazine articles (most recently for LifeWay’s ParentLife and Regent University’s The Christian Leader). She developed children’s Sunday School curriculum for over twelve years for LifeWay. In addition, Joan continues to write for an array of educational publishers (K-12), developing both teacher and student facing materials, including fiction, nonfiction, and assessments. Joan’s debut historical novel, His Gift, was released in July 2020. Joan and her husband, Jan, live in Chesapeake, VA, with their two Bichon Frisé pets.

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His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

We shared a review of His Gift on October 10, 2020, and here’s another terrific review for this novel!

His Gift: This historical novel is suitable for all ages, but the main character is in her late teens. This book is written to appeal to the YA audience, the NA audience, and every adult who has ever cared to dream.

Brace yourself for a thrilling race with twists and turns as a young woman is determined to see her dream come true. On the cusp of the stock market crash of 1929, seventeen-year-old Molly has aspirations for a career in music after high school. With the passion of an athlete preparing for the Olympics, she trains relentlessly to become the best she can be.

As her world collapses in unimaginable ways, she is left to find peace and purpose in the midst of her crisis. The message of His Gift is universal to anyone who has ever dared to dream in spite of uncontrollable circumstances. With Molly, the reader will discover the hope and peace found in a life yielded to the Giver of all gifts.

 

A review from Dr. Craig von Buseck, reprinted by permission:

Why are so many people intrigued by the character of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life? He was a talented young man with great dreams who ended up living a very different life than he expected because of life’s unexpected turns. The character of Molly in Joan Benson’s book, His Gift, is in many ways a female version of George Bailey. She is a talented young female pianist who wins a student audition for the opportunity to play with the Detroit Symphony. The Great Depression dashed that dream just as it was beginning to blossom. Like George Bailey, Molly must find ways to overcome the grinding disappointment to discover her own wonderful life. Joan Benson has crafted a delightful tale based on her mother’s story that is sure to inspire you to pursue your dreams despite all odds.

~ Dr. Craig von Buseck, author of I am Cyrus, Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel, and Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story

 

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Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan Benson is a freelance writer, a former (K-8) classroom teacher and reading specialist, and a wife a mother of four adult children. She enjoys traveling to spend time with her eight cherished grandchildren who live in various parts of the nation. Joan has produced devotional materials for CBN.com, written numerous magazine articles (most recently for LifeWay’s ParentLife and Regent University’s The Christian Leader). She developed children’s Sunday School curriculum for over twelve years for LifeWay. In addition, Joan continues to write for an array of educational publishers (K-12), developing both teacher and student facing materials, including fiction, nonfiction, and assessments. Joan’s debut historical novel, His Gift, was released in July 2020. Joan and her husband, Jan, live in Chesapeake, VA, with their two Bichon Frisé pets.

 

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His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift: This historical novel is suitable for all ages, but the main character is in her late teens. This book is written to appeal to the YA audience, the NA audience, and every adult who has ever cared to dream.

Brace yourself for a thrilling race with twists and turns as a young woman is determined to see her dream come true. On the cusp of the stock market crash of 1929, seventeen-year-old Molly has aspirations for a career in music after high school. With the passion of an athlete preparing for the Olympics, she trains relentlessly to become the best she can be.

As her world collapses in unimaginable ways, she is left to find peace and purpose in the midst of her crisis. The message of His Gift is universal to anyone who has ever dared to dream in spite of uncontrollable circumstances. With Molly, the reader will discover the hope and peace found in a life yielded to the Giver of all gifts.

 

Here’s a review from Joy Haralick, reprinted by permission:

This is a story of a young girl with enormous talent, potential and a once in a lifetime chance to fulfill her dreams. Then the Great Depression came crashing down, changing the course of her life. How does she reconcile her faith that God is good with the despair she is facing? The author makes the story and her characters come to life and makes the book hard to put down. The book personalizes an important period in American history. It also deals with coming of age, at a time when dreams are changed, crushed or deferred, and with a maturing of faith and an increase in understanding the goodness of God’s will. Our gifts and talents are given to us for the glory of God and the building up of the church universal and not for our individual glory. So our true success is not always the same as our fame or wealth. This can be a hard lesson for anyone, but especially so for adolescents, trying to figure out the complexities of their lives and their relations to the world around them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and stayed up late to finish reading it in an evening. I think it would be a particularly good book for young adults, for Christian home school reading and home school co-op libraries and for church libraries. The book, based on the life of the author’s mother, is a lovely memorial to her and the values for which she stood.

~ Joy Haralick, PhD

 

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Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan Benson is a freelance writer, a former (K-8) classroom teacher and reading specialist, and a wife a mother of four adult children. She enjoys traveling to spend time with her eight cherished grandchildren who live in various parts of the nation. Joan has produced devotional materials for CBN.com, written numerous magazine articles (most recently for LifeWay’s ParentLife and Regent University’s The Christian Leader). She developed children’s Sunday School curriculum for over twelve years for LifeWay. In addition, Joan continues to write for an array of educational publishers (K-12), developing both teacher and student facing materials, including fiction, nonfiction, and assessments. Joan’s debut historical novel, His Gift, was released in July 2020. Joan and her husband, Jan, live in Chesapeake, VA, with their two Bichon Frisé pets.

 

 

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Joan C. Benson, Author
Sarah Sundin headshot

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in smoky California! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, Joan C. Benson. Joan has written many articles and devotions, as well as material for Sunday school. Today she’s sharing with us about her debut historical novel!

Welcome, Joan! And congratulations on your debut novel! Please tell us about the story.

Joan Benson

Joan C. Benson

His Gift begins at the onset of The Great Depression. A talented young woman aspires to become a professional musician. When her world is destroyed by the Great Crash, she is left to find peace by yielding her gift to the Giver of all gifts.

That sounds lovely. What inspired you to write this book?

His Gift is based on a true event in my mother’s life growing up at the onset of the Great Depression. After she passed away, I read some of her diaries and realized what a story her life held.

I love novels based on family stories. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

I hope the readers will be encouraged to see how God can take our losses and give us peace and purpose even in the rubble of our dreams.

So true. So, what was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

Since it’s based on a true event, I couldn’t figure out how to resolve the conflict. I eventually realized the main character had to resolve her problem spiritually, as we all do before finding peace in crisis.

What’s your favorite scene in this book?

The last chapter still stirs my heart even after reading it so many times. Molly finally understands her answer as she yields her dreams to the Lord.

What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?

Our all-powerful God can deliver us from anything when we yield our lives to Him.

When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?

When my children were still young, I felt God wanted me to use my gift of communication for His glory. It took me years to walk into the fullness of this, but in baby steps, I kept moving forward and developing my craft.

Baby steps are remarkably effective! Do you have an unfulfilled dream?

I want to write at least one, or even a series of fiction stories, drawn from my experiences as a pregnancy center trained volunteer counselor. I believe many young women have been deceived by our culture and media about their sexuality and abortion.

What ministries are you involved in, and why?

I was a trained volunteer counselor at our crisis pregnancy center for several years. I believe young women need to know they have options for unplanned pregnancy beside abortion.

I am part of a local women’s speaking ministry called Women Victorious—Ordinary Women, Extraordinary God. We share testimonies of God’s faithfulness, illustrating Scriptural examples, as well as our own, even in our most pressing times of need. We show women how to understand God’s faithfulness, pointing them to Him in their trials and victories.

Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?

Yes, I was an educator, a reading specialist, for many years, working with children from kindergarten through middle school. When I taught literature in middle school for several years, I was dismayed by the lack of virtue in many of the books my students were reading. It was then that I determined to write stories which pointed to biblical moral values whether the book was openly Christian or whether it presented His truths and principles without reference to Christianity.

Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?

We have two adorable Bichon doggies who are now running fourteen. They curl up under my desk and are very content while I work. Very cozy.

How cute! Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?

I actually am very good about meeting external deadlines, but I have a harder time meeting my own personal ones. I’ve done lots of contract writing over my career which means deadlines. I do struggle to make my personal deadlines carry the same weight as the ones others impose.

Please tell us about your next project.

I am writing a contemporary novel about a young woman who faces a difficult choice, to hurt those she loves the most or to hurt someone she is barely aware of. The book is written for Christian families and comes as a result of my work as an advocate and counselor for young women in crisis.

Sounds interesting! Thank you for sharing with us, Joan!

To learn more about Joan and her writing, please visit Joan’s website and Joan’s blog.

Writing for Him,

Sarah Sundin

Sarah’s website

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