Author Susan G. Mathis Shares the Sweetness of Shabbat

Today I have invited fellow author and friend, Susan Mathis, to give us a glimpse into her newest book, Reagan’s Reward, a Christmas novella from her “Thousand Islands Gilded Age” series – the American equivalent of Downton Abbey.

By Susan G. Mathis

Have you had the blessing of being at a Shabbat meal – the sabbath meal for those of the Jewish faith? A few months ago, I did, and it was so inspiring. The family had four children, and the sense of holiness present at the meal brought me to tears.

In my latest Christmas novella, the sixth “Thousand Islands Gilded Age” story, a young Gentile woman experiences Shabbat with a Jewish family in 1912. Reagan Kennedy is the governess to the Bernheim family’s twin nephews, Joseph and Jacob, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family when she is a Gentile and tending to eight-year-old, mischievous boys yields challenges galore.

Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. He tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, but she calls into question his own faith background and forces him to face the hurts of his past.

Here is an excerpt from a boat ride on the river in which a discussion among Reagan, Daniel, and the boys tells…the rest of the story: 

“I’d like to understand Shabbat better,” Reagan said. “The prayers. The symbolism. It’s so beautiful.”

Jacob started. “Me first. The candles show us when God created light. The wine gives us joy.”

“And we wash our hands before we lift them up to God,” Joseph added. 

Daniel interjected. “Very good. And what of the bread?”

“The Challah? It’s braided like this.” Joseph folded his arms. “When your arms are folded, you can’t work, and the Shabbat is a day for resting.”

“And there are two loaves ’cuz God gave a double portion of manna on Fridays, and the lacy covers are the dew that the Israelites saw before the manna appeared.” Jacob grinned.

“Really? That’s so amazing. Thank you.” Reagan smiled at the boys before turning to Daniel. “We worship the Light of the World and the Bread of Life. 

“Goodness! Such beautiful ways to remember God. Thank you, boys. I shall forever remember that you were the ones who enlightened me.

“I can’t help but see Jesus in all of it. He said He was the light of the world and the Bread of Life. He took the cup of wine and said, ‘this is My blood of the covenant’. His body was even wrapped with spices like in the little box the boys talked about. Can you not see how Jesus fulfills all this?”

Daniel gazed at the sparkling river. “We Jews have been waiting for the Messiah for so long.” 

“But He’s already come. Jesus came and fulfilled it all.” Reagan touched his forearm giving it a soft pat before returning her hand to her lap. 


ALT="author Susan G. Mathis"Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate New York. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family LegacyChristmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award.   Visit for more.

Find Reagan’s Reward  here.



Amazon: Susan G Mathis author


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