The Believers

Overview

In her historical novels about Kentucky, Janice Holt Giles has become known for the integrity with which she handles her material and for the realism with which she writes. In The Believers, first published in 1957, she continues her series about the settling of Kentucky with a moving story of love and marriage set in a Shaker community.

Rebecca Fowler is only seventeen when she marries Richard Cooper. She cannot remember a time when she has not loved and trusted him and ...

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Overview

In her historical novels about Kentucky, Janice Holt Giles has become known for the integrity with which she handles her material and for the realism with which she writes. In The Believers, first published in 1957, she continues her series about the settling of Kentucky with a moving story of love and marriage set in a Shaker community.

Rebecca Fowler is only seventeen when she marries Richard Cooper. She cannot remember a time when she has not loved and trusted him and followed where he led. At first the marriage is happy; it is only after their child is stillborn that Richard shows preliminary signs of religious fanaticism in his insistence that this is God's punishment visited upon them. The Shaker missionaries newly arrived in Kentucky find him an easy convert.

When Richard joins the Shaker community, Rebecca goes with him, as a dutiful wife should, hoping that her love will ultimately win him back to her and to the larger world. She becomes part of a strange world in which men and women — even husbands and wives — live apart, coming together only for meals and for worship. As time passes and she sees Richard's affection recede, only her stubborn honesty gives her the strength to deny lip service to a doctrine she cannot truly accept and, at the last, courage to follow the dictates of her heart.

In this novel, Mrs. Giles gives us a unique picture of everyday life in a Shaker village, one of the experiments in utopian communal living that are a part of American history. Realistically but with understanding, she shows us a society animated not only by saintliness but by bigotry and ordinary human frailties.

Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979), author of nineteen books, lived and wrote near Knifley, Kentucky, for thirty-four years. Her biography is told in Janice Holt Giles: A Writer's Life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A delicious nibble of Giles' literary gifts." — Lexington Herald-Leader

"The book answers questions of Shaker beginnings and ending and beliefs while maintaining an easy flow enriched with just enough of the quaint regional dialect to add a distinctive flavor." — Chattanooga Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813101897
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 9/28/1989
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,426,804
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.51 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    A MUST READ

    Had a hard time putting the book down. Couldn't help but think what a women goes through in the name of love for her man. I appreciate my husband more and held him in my arms like no tomorrow each night after I read. I even cleaned my house from top to bottom just thinkin of all the hard work Rebecca and all the others put them selves through not so much for the shakers faith but for their husbands and children.

    Thanks,

    Oralia in California

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Believable!

    I recently finished reading "The Believers". I live in KY and am familiar with the Shakers that lived at Pleasant Hill but did not know much about the Shakers at South Union. I appreciated reading about the time period as well as Shaker life. It's hard to imagine what people went thru and were willing to give up to survive. Having said that you can definitely see a correlation between the Shakers way of life and some religions today. An interesting and enjoyable read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    Great for the mind and heart!

    I read this book fifteen years ago,and was so upset when I had to return it. I was thrilled when I found it on the Barnes and Noble website. Even though I'm not a country girl any more, the novel can still bring tears to this city girl's eyes. This will remain my favorite book forever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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