The Gathering Table
Love Inspired Trade Pub
Sept 28th, 2021
The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer would be great for a Hallmark movie. The characters and the plot are relatable to anyone who has struggled with betrayal. Despite the many bumps along the way, the characters end up having hope after reinventing themselves. Readers realize how new friendships can help with overcoming past secrets.
Meet Jessica Keaton, who was unjustly fired from her job and accused falsely of improprieties. She decided to start anew by accepting a job offer to be a live-in cook and housekeeper for Elaine Haviland. Elaine had fallen, sent to rehab, and while there had a stroke. With Elaine recovering, Jess has her house to herself. While settling in, Jess is bombarded with Elaine’s friends and neighbors. Sienna Bloom is a girl who uses Elaine’s piano to practice for a recital where she can win a scholarship, but also uses the living room couch to sleep. Besides Elaine, it seems that Jess has a lot in common with Sienna regarding secrets and a past life. It is almost like they are The Three Musketeers.
Sienna is broken but wants something more from her life. As the story unfolds, she gains confidence. Jess helped her to trust again. Jess understood her because she was like Sienna at that age. Her, Elaine, and Jess wanted to belong, and all have secrets. They did not want to be judged by their past.”
There is also Nick Silva, a neighbor, and the high school coach, who takes an interest in Jess. Although attracted to each other Jess has built walls, which must be torn down. Another character helping Jess realize she no longer wants to be a loner is Christopher Benjamin Gardner, a young man who stutters, has a light case of Down Syndrome, and has become Jess’s sous chef. Jess allows him to venture out and realize he can have a job. His mother Nita, along with her friends, Peg and Marri, nicknamed the Scrappy Ladies, feel the need to protect Jess even though they are busy bodies. All these people, including Elaine who has returned home, help Jess to navigate the feeling of comradeship and family. Realizing she no longer needs to rely on herself she accepts the warmth and caring ways of those around her.
“I fell in love with all the characters I wrote in this book. Christopher is tender hearted. I think he added a lot to the story. Jess allowed him to enter her kitchen and life. He is sweet, optimistic, and joyful. Nick was the small-town high school quarterback who came back home. He has a strong sense of community and family. Overall, a good guy. Because he is now a coach, he has become sensitive to different types of personality. He is also funny and charming.
Elaine has also found romance with Matthew Jeffries, a former military Chaplain, who visited Elaine in rehab where they both realize someone in their fifties can find a relationship. “He was not a character who appeared in the synopsis or in my head. He came about as I was writing the scene with Elaine in rehab. I typed the words “knock-knock” and thought who would be there. Matthew walked into the room. Their relationship was unexpected, but why should young characters always get all the romance?”
This story leaves a sweet taste in readers’ mouths. The characters are strong people with good values and are very caring. Anyone who wants a feel-good story should read a Kathryn Springer book. These are the type of friends everyone needs.
The author commented, “I am thinking of writing a sequel to this book. There is no contract and of course no release date. I am always thinking how I cannot say good-bye to these characters. They have become my friends over the course of the book. I would love to hear from readers about a second book. They can contact me at https://kathrynspringer.com/contact/