Friday, August 21, 2009

The Believer

The Believer
Ann H. Gabhart

About the Book:
Although his wife died several years earlier, Elizabeth Duncan's father had kept their family together and happy. When he dies suddenly and their lecherous landlord insists that an arrangement had been made for Elizabeth to marry him in exchange for the debts her father owed, she has no option but to run away with her younger brother and sister.

They head for Harmony Hill, a Shaker community in a nearby county that her father had once visited. They are taken in, clothed, and well fed. But the Shaker ways are strange to them. They work hard to fit in and find the peace that is promised by following the strict Shaker disciplines. It becomes especially difficult when Elizabeth and one of her Shaker brothers, Ethan, find themselves thrown together in unusual situations. They become increasingly attracted to each other despite the strict rules against relationships between men and women that go beyond brotherly/sisterly roles.

My Thoughts:
Very little has been written about life in the Shaker community. This is a fascinating peek into a slightly known culture. Ann Gabhart has done a wonderful job of setting us into this sheltered community and the surrounding community. She provides a picturesque view of the internal struggle of both new and long-term members as they strive to live under strict guidelines of a religious organization that believes its way is the only way to salvation.

She provides enough mystery and intrigue with several story lines to ensure that multiple struggles of life can be viewed within this story, and it is easy to empathize with each character.

You can purchase a copy here.

About the Author
Ann H. Gabhard is the author of the successful Shaker-inspired novel The Outsider. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels.

Praise for The Outsider

“With an appealing heroine and an intriguing plot,
Gabhart’s latest novel deserves a place in all public libraries.”
Library Journal

“The blending of history and fiction is intriguing
and draws the reader through the story without missing a beat.”
CBA Retailers

“Fans of Amish novels may find Gabhart’s
well-researched historical fiction to their liking.”
Publishers Weekly

“The ambition of the historical fiction novel is not only
to expound upon the events within a previous time and place,
but to peel back the layers of fact and reveal the nuances of the lives beneath …. Ann H. Gabhart has completed this mission admirably.”

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