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An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart

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About the Book

Title: An Appalachian Summer

Author: Ann H Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released:  June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

My Review

*Sigh* After reading An Appalachian Summer, I wonder how a reader could not consider signing up to be a horse courier for Mrs. Breckenridge’s Nurse-Midwife Service. Sure, the year is 1933, and the locale of most of this unputdownable book is the hills and mountains of Kentucky. The adventure that Ann H Gabhart effortlessly spins rolls from one escapade to the next.
Of course, we might not all be as courageous as Piper Danson, who trades her debutante life for the wild unknown. Who needs to decide between two suitors when there are bigger mountains to climb… literally? What with snakes, men who might shoot before asking questions if a stranger is found on their land, odd jobs the girls have never before dreamed of attempting…life is never dull in these beautiful hills.

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This is a journey of faith, friendship, love, and the soul. Faith that the mountain people have and readily share, as one lady on the train does to Piper:
“I’m guessing things has always been easy for you. That can make it harder to recognize what the Lord does for you. You can think maybe you’ve done it all yourself and don’t need him none. But you walk down some rocky trails with troubles on every side , and you’ll be wanting the Lord right there with you.”
Gabhart doesn’t belabor points, but inserts faith as a given for the mountain people.
Friendships. So many different kinds in this story. Some lead to respect. Some lead to good new friends. Some lead to love. *Sigh* It is just so much fun to follow the paths Gabhart winds, almost as twisty as the mountain paths themselves, before allowing her characters to settle their hearts.
There’s magic in those hills. Especially the ones inhabited by Mrs. Breckenridge, Piper, Suze, Dr. Jack, Billy, and on and on. This is a TV show waiting to be picked up.
Be able to say you read the book first.

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Notable Quotables:

“…the joy of the song can be in you whether it tickles the ears or not.”

“Sometimes a person had to forget the obstacles and jump into the moment.”

“I think we all have a calling. Sometimes we live up to it, and sometimes we don’t.”

“…every person should be allowed one idiotic dream in her lifetime.”

“You get up high on those hills and the Lord just seems nearer.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads. I also bought an ecopy and a copy to bless a special friend with. All opinions are my own, and are freely given.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

311723Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com.Giveaways several times a year.

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The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart

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About the Book

Title: The Refuge

Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released: April 2019

When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique–and lonely–position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

Get your copy here.

My Review

An author who can grab your attention in the first sentence usually is skilled enough to keep it. I found this especially true of Ann H. Gabhart in The Refuge, her latest about a young widow, Darcie, in a Shaker village. ”You can’t cheat death.” Immediately, the reader wants to know why the narrator, Darcie, feels like this. While life in a Shaker village could be monotonous and dreary, devoid of family and marital relations, Gabhart managed to keep me eagerly reading to see what would befall
anxious Darcie. Her experiences in Harmony Hill as Gabhart recounts them are far from boring. 
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For the founders of communes such as this (and we had one similar in our community, set up in 1930 by a woman, where marriage was “wrong”), the Bible speaks plainly against this type of community. First, the Bible is clear that marriage is to be revered, sacred, and ENJOYED. Secondly, God clearly states that one should not add to His Word. Both in the case of the Shakers and our local commune, the leader’s ideas were considered equal, if not above, God’s Word. Of course, this community also died out.
Gabhart has a great cast of three-dimensional characters. Flynn struggles with how to raise his daughter, Leatrice. Silas struggles with how to help Flynn. The answers they choose have far-reaching consequences. I wished we could have seen more of wise Granny Hatchell.
“A body shouldn’t be trying to change other folks just to make things more convenient for her.”
Overarching themes I saw are learning to trust God day by day and not borrow tomorrow’s troubles; taking that step of faith as we see God leading; learning from others and living peaceably with them even not being in total agreement. How much richer Darcie’s life was for her time with Sisters Genna, Ellie, Helene, and even Eldress Maria.The Refuge... marriage quote.png
For those who will feel the ending was rushed: I believe circumstances in times like those often made it so. We need to stay true to history over having a “more satisfying ending” like we would plan.
Quotes:
“Marriage causes stressful living and not the peace and unity we seek here in our village.”
~ Mother Ann- founder of Shakers 

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“You prayed when my heart was too discouraged to hope.” ~Genna on answered prayer, showing the power of intercessory prayer for others. May this be said of me!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions, which are solely my own. 

 My Rating

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About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspo…. Giveaways several times a year.