A Shaker romance sounds like a nonstarter idea for a novel, since the Shakers, a socially revolutionary religious sect, practiced celibacy. But therein lies the tension in this historical romance, Gabhart's second Shaker outing (after The Outsider). Raised by Shakers since the age of six, when he ran away from his river rat father, Ethan Boyd is a Believer-someone who has signed a covenant to join the Shakers. But he's thrown into emotional turmoil when Elizabeth Duncan and her two younger siblings, following the sudden death of their father, seek refuge in 1833 at Harmony Hill, the Shaker community in Kentucky where Ethan lives. Elizabeth is also escaping from a predatory landlord with designs on her. A number of supporting characters are well drawn, including Elizabeth's siblings Payton and Hannah and the kind Shaker, Issachar, Ethan's benefactor. Other characters are more like caricatures-Elizabeth's landlord is an Oilcan Harry, mustache-twirling kind of villain. On balance, the book rings with researched authenticity and will appeal to Amish romance fans. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Believer: A Novelby Ann H. Gabhart
Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof
Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But when she feels a strong attachment to a handsome young Believer named Ethan, life gets complicated. Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can't shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him. Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or will Ethan's love for her change their lives forever?
Following on the heels of the successful book The Outsider, The Believer is Ann H. Gabhart's newest exploration of love and devotion in this quiet Shaker community.
Meet the Author
Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart 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. Gabhart is also the author of Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy.
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A very interesting read. I had no idea how the Shakers lived.