A Gift Most Rare

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Pub Date 24 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 17 Jan 2022
Darcie Rowan PR, Christian Faith Publishing

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Description

Heart-Warming Debut Yuletide Novel Focuses on a Young Boy, a Guardian Angel & a Quaint New York Village That Needs Christmas Spirit

A Gift Most Rare

(A Novel)

By Tom Leihbacher


“Congratulations to Tom for writing a heartwarming Christmas story that evokes the traditional Christmas spirit. A Gift Most Rare focuses on a God-honoring relationship between a young boy, a guardian angel and a whole village that rediscovers how best to celebrate Christmas.” – Kevin Sorbo, Actor, Producer, Director


It's Christmastime in the pocket-sized village of Briarcliff Manor. With yuletide spirits flying high, life seems close to perfect in this quaint suburb of Manhattan.

But not everyone feels the holiday cheer. While most go about their joyful holiday pursuits, young Charlie Riverton is restless. Compassionate by nature, he's especially mindful of the lonely and forlorn.

At the same time, he's the unofficial leader of a close-knit group of sixth-grade buddies. Together they grapple with pre-teen hijinks, newfound freedoms and an emerging, nerve-wracking interest in girls.

Meanwhile, there's a curiously gifted newcomer in town. Charlie develops a special friendship with the handsome stranger and together, they set out to craft a God-honoring Christmas gift for the whole community. Along the way, lives are changed, and people begin to look at Christmas a little differently.

Come spend the holidays in Briarcliff with this feel-good, coming of age story set in small-town America in the early 1970s.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tom Leihbacher has lived in Briarcliff Manor, New York for most of his life. After graduating from Briarcliff High School and then the University of Florida, he returned home and began a career in the media and advertising sales business. He and his family live in the Tree Streets and enjoy a rich life filled with church and community involvements and great friendships. He listens to Dr. Cook's Walk with the King broadcast each morning before boarding a Manhattan-bound commuter train at Scarborough Station; passes through Law Park and the Pine Forest frequently; enjoys membership at Sleepy Hollow Country Club; stops for sunsets over the Hudson River and once in a while can be found skating at one of the frozen ponds in town.

After 35+ years in the corporate world, "A Gift Most Rare" is his first novel. A summer sequel will be ready soon. Please visit my author website to learn more.


https://www.tomleihbacher.com/

EXCERPT:

As they waited for the Adult Skate to finish, Charlie happened to glance up the hillside toward the flagpole in the center of Law Park. There, he saw a sight that pierced him, awakening something vital in his heart.

“Guys, look up there at poor Mr. Olson. Have you noticed how lost and lonely he seems since his wife died?” Charlie knew Mr. Olson well. He cut his grass during the summertime and raked his leaves every autumn. “Is that a handkerchief? I think he’s wiping away tears or something.”

“If you spent your entire adult life with someone who died without warning, you’d feel lost too!” The group could always count on Derrick Marks to size things up in blunt terms.

“Wow. That was cold. Even by your standards. I realize everyone’s allowed to act like a jerk once in a while, but you’re really abusing the privilege,” said BB.

“I can’t even imagine how hard it must be. And it’s so sad! I don’t think they ever had children, so he’s all alone now,” said Charlie. “All alone.”

“Yeah, and you know when it’s really going to hurt? In about a month when Christmas comes around,” added BB. “I wonder what he did for Thanksgiving.”

“Oh, leave him be. He’s a grown man. Fought on the ground in Europe during World War I. He’ll figure it out,” lectured Derrick.

“You’re all heart, DMarks,” replied Charlie. “We should go up and say hello to him. Maybe he might need help with snow shoveling or something.”

“Are you crazy? We only have an hour of daylight left, and Adult Skate is just about over,” said George. Charlie didn’t care, his focus had shifted from hockey to Mr. Olson. His genuinely good and caring heart couldn’t just let go.

Suddenly, a uniquely warm feeling washed over him. Where did that come from? he wondered. It reminded him of those times when he was small, and his father would wrap him up in his arms until it felt like he had been swallowed whole. Usually those bear hugs provided encouragement and support. Without thinking about it any further, he got to his feet and hobbled up the hillside in his hockey skates.

“Oh, good night, John-Boy,” said D Marks. “There goes Mr. Wonderful. If he doesn’t get back in time to restart the game, I say we get Matty Gilroy to fill in for him.”

Charlie loved hockey, but at that particular moment, he was carried away with a desire to do something, anything he could to ease Mr. Olson’s pain. He slowed down once he got closer and just kind of glanced at Mr. Olson. The gentlemanly old man was just sitting there, all bundled up, quietly weeping, sad as raindrops on a

gravestone. “Mr. Olson? It’s me, Charlie Riverton. I wanted to say hello.”

At first, Mr. Olson was startled as he rallied out of his deep thoughts and reflections. Then, he immediately warmed to Charlie’s presence. “Charlie, you’re very kind to visit with me. How are you and your family?” His voice was tired and spiritless but sincere.

“We’re all fine, sir. My dad still commutes to Manhattan each day from Scarborough Train Station and my mom still teaches kindergarten at Todd School. We’ve been talking a lot about you lately.”

As the words came out, Charlie realized it wasn’t the best way of letting Mr. Olson know that he was in their thoughts. Still, he could tell Mr. Olson understood and appreciated the sentiment.

“Thank you, Charlie. Thank you very much. You know, I’ve noticed lately that it feels like I’ve been having company, even though no one has visited since Mrs. Olson passed away. It must be your family’s kind thoughts and prayers making me feel that way.”


Heart-Warming Debut Yuletide Novel Focuses on a Young Boy, a Guardian Angel & a Quaint New York Village That Needs Christmas Spirit

A Gift Most Rare

(A Novel)

By Tom Leihbacher


“Congratulations to...


A Note From the Publisher

This book was originally published during the pandemic and received no marketing or publicity support.. I loved this book so much, I thought it deserved a real marketing push.

In one day of pitching to book bloggers, we received an overwhelming response to a message of hope and love that is this beautiful story. Please give it a chance.

This book was originally published during the pandemic and received no marketing or publicity support.. I loved this book so much, I thought it deserved a real marketing push.

In one day of...


Advance Praise

“Congratulations to Tom for writing a heartwarming Christmas story that evokes the traditional Christmas spirit. A Gift Most Rare focuses on a God-honoring relationship between a young boy, a guardian angel and a whole village that rediscovers how best to celebrate Christmas.” – Kevin Sorbo, Actor, Producer, Director


A Gift Most Rare is a gift to every reader, bringing you back to a time when Christmas was filled with thanks to God, it is a great reminder to care for those around you, giving to those in need and coming together to celebrate God’s gift of Jesus. –Rev Anthony Karlik, Sr. Paster of Faith Lutheran Church, Briarcliff Manor, NY


The novel is sweet and affectionate, with a strong spiritual uplift. A lovely debut. –Jane Malanowski, author of The Coup


Every once in a while comes a magical story, an exquisite jewel of a book, a piece of fiction that more than makes up for all the ordinary books. Leihbacher is an amazing storyteller He economically imbues his plot and characters with life’s truths. –Karen Smith, Historian, Briarcliff Manor


“Congratulations to Tom for writing a heartwarming Christmas story that evokes the traditional Christmas spirit. A Gift Most Rare focuses on a God-honoring relationship between a young boy, a...


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...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781098032814
PRICE $18.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 6 members


Featured Reviews

This is the most feel-good story of all feel-good stories. Charlie is in the sixth grade, but he has a sensitive heart toward those who are hurting, especially the newly widowed Mr. Olsen and Viet Nam Vet, Parker. When Skylar moves into town to work with Henry in the parks department, he recognizes Charlie's thoughtfulness and encourages Charlie in his endeavors. Charlie is a typical sixth grade boy in all other aspects, with a group of friends who are all sports-minded like he is. One of the boys in his group of friends is a bit of a loose cannon who is willing to step in and take credit for things he didn't do; at the same time, he races head-long into trouble while taunting the rest of the group to entice them into his trouble. Skylar watches all of these shenanigans with a close eye. What the reader gets to understand is that Skylar is not exactly who he presents himself to be. He is an angel in disguise, working inside and outside the hearts that are receptive to his help. There are characters the readers will absolutely love, a few they will absolutely dislike strongly, and a few that the readers will change their minds about. Tom Leihbacher is a gifted author who has a great grasp of the work angels do in our world. A Gift Most Rare is an easy read that is compelling and entertaining. Four Strong Stars. I will be looking forward to reading more books by Tom. Christian Faith Publishing, Inc. and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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This is a book for all ages. It is a beautifully written story that hooks you on the first page and doesn't let go. The author brings the book to life with his words and you feel like you are there. It's a heartwarming uplifting story that will stay with you long after you read the last page. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I received a complimentary copy from Darcie Rowan PR, Christian Faith Publishing via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own. 5 stars all the way!!

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What a wonderful, "feel good story" and at Christmas time!!! Set in the small village of Briarcliff Manor, close to New York, in the early 1970s, his book warms your heart and convinces you of the inherent kindness of people. Charlie is in the sixth grade, but he has a sensitive heart toward those who are hurting, especially the newly widowed Mr. Olsen and Viet Nam Vet, Parker. There are so many great lessons to learn from in this book. I wish there were MORE books like this one!! A gift most rare....how TRUE~ I recommend this book and give it 5 stars!!

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This book is a parable. But within the book, each chapter is almost a parable of it own. The story takes place in a very real, small town just North of New York City, Briarcliff Manor NY. The town is the former home of The King’s College and features Dr. Robert Cook, its former President, as a minor character. The Fath-Based story features Charlie Riverton, a middle school student, who is used by God to transform his community and the people who reside there. Each chapter seems to focus on a theme that is important to the Christian life - grace, fellowship, forgiveness, love, etc. Yet, as a whole, the book shows how God can use one young man to touch the lives of so many. Tears came to my eyes as I saw God touching the lives of Mr. Smythe, Parker Jones, Mr. Olson, and others. I was reminded over and over of how God touched my own life during some very broken times. The story and the memories require that I give the book five-stars. ______________ This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.

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