Gaia’s Gift

Gaia’s Gift
by Fran Orenstein
Genre: Contemporary, paranormal, romantic novel of love, loss, and redemption
Rachel Wells loses everything she cherishes in a brief summer storm off the coast of Florida. Haunted by the ghosts of her past, driven to the point of insanity by survivor’s guilt, Rachel turns her back on the world and retreats to a deserted island with her cat. Here she plans to live out her life in isolation, frozen behind an impenetrable veil of pain. That is, until she receives a gift from the sea that opens a slit in the veil and allows the world to intrude. Ignoring her conscience, Rachel learns too late that some gifts are not meant to be kept forever, and that forgiveness and redemption sometimes require sacrifice. The gods and spirits watch as the many layers of love unfold to reveal a complex finale.

Character interview

Rachel Speaks of Love – Interview by Fran Orenstein

Fran: Tell me your story, Rachel, but in case we need it, there’s the tissue box.

Rachel: There are many faces of love and each one balances precariously on a narrow beam, as we carefully edge our way to fulfillment or disaster. My name is Rachel Wells. Two hundred years ago they would have called me Widow Wells, the Witch and perhaps burned me at the stake for my unpopular ideas about healing herbs and saving Gaia, Mother Earth. It has been nearly 20 years since I felt the arms of a man around me and the tickle of a beard against my skin. I sound like an old woman, but I am only 43 years old. When Jack and Emma disappeared in that terrible storm at sea, all those many years ago, I lost all hope. I lived isolated and alone for five years, surrounded by the spirits of my lost family, until Gaia gave me a special gift from the sea, Abigail, the magical child. I pushed aside all thoughts of a man in my life and fooled myself into believing I was content.

Fran: What happened then?

Rachel: Time waited patiently until that fateful day when we sailed to the mainland for supplies and Abigail met the twins, Mandy and Missy. Their long-distance friendship blossomed sporadically over the next few years. Then the twin’s friend, Danny entered the picture, sending Abigail into the throws of teen-age love. The rare meetings became regular conversations over the airwaves, through cell satellites and the internet. That is, until the three sailed up the coast with Ben, the twins now divorced father, and I suddenly understood the meaning of lust at first sight. The passion grew until it culminated on the deck of Ben’s boat. Was it just lust, or had I grown to love this man? Reality punched me in the face when I realized that Ben, who I fantasized might become a permanent part of my life, had the power to easily destroy Abigail and me. The one element I failed to recognize was the strength of Ben’s love for me, and that he could also save us. Sometimes the things we wish for actually do come true, but sometimes they require the ultimate sacrifice to keep them.

Fran: Thank you, Rachel for that heartfelt story. Readers will have to find out the ending by reading Gaia’s Gift. No, no don’t give it away, please.

Rachel, smiling: The secret is safe with me. But you know romance novels have to end a certain way.

Fran, laughing: I thought rules are made to be broken.

Fran Orenstein, Ed.D. is the award-winning author of novels, short stories and poetry for kids, ‘tweens, teens and adults. She wrote her first poem at age eight and submitted a short story to a magazine at age twelve. Fran has been a teacher, written professionally as a magazine editor/writer, counseled people with disabilities, and also wrote political speeches, newsletters, legislation, and promotional material while working for New Jersey State Government for twenty-two years.
She has published academically, and written professional papers on gender equity and violence prevention, which she presented at national and international conferences. Fran managed programs for women in gender equity, child care, and disabilities, as well as serving as Special Projects and Disabilities Officer for the AmeriCorps Commission in New Jersey.
Fran has a BA in Early Childhood Education, a MEd in Counseling Psychology, and an Ed.D. in Child and Youth Studies.
She especially loves writing for kids and teens, and considers her children and grandchildren her best inspiration.
All Fran’s books are available at on-line bookstores in Ebook and paper back format.
Visit Fran’s World at
You can contact her at:

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