Blessed, The: A Novel

( 13 )

Overview

Trapped by obligation, one woman longs for the freedom of true love.

It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such ...

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The Blessed: A Novel

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Overview

Trapped by obligation, one woman longs for the freedom of true love.

It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such relationships are forbidden.

Can Lacey ever find true happiness in this mysterious place?

"Ann H. Gabhart takes us on a remarkable journey into the lives of the Shakers and their community. With a compelling style, she weaves a story of love, compassion, and a young woman's determination to find God's truth. From cover to cover, The Blessed captivates and challenges—an absolutely wonderful read."—Judith Miller, author of A Bond Never Broken

"When you step into the world of Ann Gabhart's The Blessed, you'll find it inhabited by a truly delightful cast of characters. Theirs is a multileveled love story . . . between a man and a woman, yes, but also between a woman and a child not her own. Certainly, a tender and inspiring read."—Ann Tatlock, award-winning novelist

"Ann Gabhart has written a fine and fair rendering of the Shaker ways and how the beliefs of this communal society touched the lives of those within the community and those without."—Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of The Daughter's Walk

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 colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. Gabhart is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and Angel Sister.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Ann H. Gabhart's new novel takes us into a mid-19th century woman's internal struggles about her faith and her heart. After teenager Lacey Bishop argues with her, she joins the household of a preacher, his wife, and their orphaned child. When the wife dies, the minister convinces young Lacey to marry him; then, in an unexpected move, he brings the family to live in a Shaker community. For Lacey, his unilateral decision is fraught with complications: She now spends her days and nights wed to a man she only half-knows in a community that shuns marriage as a sin. Worse yet, she feels herself drawn to another man. Is there any safe way out of her soulful quandary? A paperback original.

Library Journal
In 1884 Lacey Bishop marries the preacher whose children she helped raise before his wife died. Then her husband moves his family to a Shaker village, where their marriage is frowned upon, as the institution is considered a sin. It is there that she meets the widower Isaac Kingston, to whom she is attracted. How can two people find true love when the odds seem to be stacked against them? VERDICT The story and writing of Gabhart's latest Shaker historical (The Seeker: The Believer) are somewhat dry. Readers may pick this novel up thinking it is Amish fiction but will be sorely mistaken. Recommended only to the author's fans.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800734541
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 798,735
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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 the author of several bestselling novels, including The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and Angel Sister.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A slow start but pulls you in later Lacey Bishop was taken in b

    A slow start but pulls you in later

    Lacey Bishop was taken in by Preacher Elwood Palmer to care for his wife Mona and later baby Rachel when she was left on their doorstep. When Mona died the ladies of the Ebenezer Church didn't think it was right that Lacey and Rachel live with Preacher Palmer unless they were married. Lacey didn't love him, really didn't even care for him but she did love Rachel and she knew that if she didn't marry Preacher Palmer she would lose Rachel. They agreed to be married and Lacey would have some time before she would have to become a real wife to him.




    In the mean time the Shaker's came to sell their seeds to the parishioners but they got into a deep discussion with Preacher Palmer, after coming back several days they soon had him convinced to move his family and as many church members that wanted to, to join the Shaker's. He did give Lacey a choice, but if she chose not to go with him, again, she would lose Rachel. Lacey did go with him even though she'd heard they would take Rachel away from her because they don't believe in families in the conventional way, everyone is called brother or sister. The children are kept in one house, the women in one and the men in one.




    How is Lacey going to survive, will she ever come around to their way of belief?




    I thought the book had a slow start to it, maybe it was just because I was upset with the way Lacey's life was going and when she went to live with the Shaker's it seemed to get worse. As I read I was figuring some things out and then needed to read faster to see if I was right. I am enjoying this series but I really don't agree with the Shaker's belief's, maybe that's what keeps me coming back to try to understand it. I know, at least I think I know, that I could not live the way they do. Anyway, I would recommend this book, this series, yes, please start with the first book, to others. The Shaker's I guess really do amaze me with their ideas.

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  • Posted April 8, 2012

    I have all four of her books in this Shaker series. This one wa

    I have all four of her books in this Shaker series. This one was absolutely the best one of all. The Shakers were a strange group, for sure. I hope that the author continues writing this series and gives us a "book 5".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Awesome book

    Great Author...... love her books

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Perfect book for romance lovers!

    Review by AmieLou: When I got the notice to review The Blessed by Ann H. Gabhart, I have to admit that I was overly excited to read a novel¿said to be a romance¿about the Shakers. For those who don¿t know, the Shakers were a religious sect formed in the eighteenth century. I say ¿were¿ because the Shakers didn¿t believe in marriage or sexual relations for any reason. They didn¿t have families nor children born into their communities. Consequently,their beliefs died out with them. And so I was very interested to see what Gabhart could do with a romance set in such a strict community.

    I was instantly enthralled. The writing is beautiful, near poetic. The turns of phrases took me back in time and the distinctive voices of the characters kept me there. The Blessed is the story of Isaac and Lacey, both of whom have made multiple mistakes in life that have lead them to the Shaker community called Harmony Hill. Isaac, near suicidal over the death of his wife, allows himself to be taken in as not to be incarcerated. Lacey, who has no family to speak of, gets drawn there as the household where she was living gets torn apart. Neither one belong in such a stringent community, but both lack the will, the strength, or the means to leave.

    The romance lover in me protests that the novel truly starts at page 250 and begs to know more about this gentle love story between two such likable and sympathetic characters as Isaac and Lacey. However, Gabhart does such an amazing job describing the habits of the Shakers and the strange way in which they lived that I cannot imagine the book presented any other way. Ann Gabhart¿s knowledge of the Believers¿ lifestyle makes for incredibly entertaining and informative reading. The Blessed is the perfect book for romance lovers, as well as those interested in historical fiction and Christian literature.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    An Interesting Read!

    ABOUT THE BOOK: (back cover)
    It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. The BlessedEstranged from her own family, at age 16 she started working for a preacher and his wife. All is fine until the wife dies a few years later and the preacher convinces Lacey the only decent thing to do is marry him. That way she can continue to act as mother to the little girl who was left on his doorstep. But Lacey never expected he would decide to take them all off to a Shaker village. There she's still married but living in a community that believes marriage is a sin. And to make matters worse, she finds herself drawn to Isaac Kingston, a man who came to the Shakers after his young bride died. But of course any notion of love between them is only a forbidden dream. How will Lacey ever find true happiness?

    If you would like to read the first two chapters click HERE

    MY THOUGHTS:
    This is the second book that I've read in this series (this is the 4th book). This book can definitely stand on its own. I found myself getting angry at some of the characters, at Lacey for how she deals with the preacher, among others, but then I had to remind myself that this book is placed in the 1800's and the characters are simply acting as they should for that time period! This is a good book, you learn a bit more about the Shakers, they really have an interesting way of looking at things, a way that is very strange to most of us. There is a lot of sadness to this book because of the many characters who are hurting and it's nice to see how the author brings them rays of happiness throughout the story.

    "Available July 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

    *I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    4th in Shaker series has message of hope

    The Blessed by Ann Gabhart is the fourth book in her Shaker series. The story covers two people, Lacey and Isaac, each trapped between a rock and a hard place, and living life without hope. Lacey's family was shattered with the death of her mother, and after her father married an abusive woman, she was sent to help out Preacher Palmer's family in another town. Lacey grew to see his wife, Miss Mona, as a mother figure, and when an infant girl was dropped off at their doorstep, the two women raised little Rachel together. But with Miss Mona's death, Lacey feels the preacher's eyes on her all the time until he coerces her into marriage so she can continue to raise Rachel, but she gets him to promise to allow her time before attempting to consummate the marriage. The preacher's frustration fills the house with tension and Lacey with the fear that this is all there is for her life. Isaac Kingston thought his wife Ella was just malingering when she told him that she would die if he took her away from her home. His dreams a life and fortune out West took them far away. Ella's words were prophetic, and Isaac brought his young wife home to be buried. Ella's father is an important judge who is angry at the "murder" of his only child and determines to destroy Isaac, making the young man hide in the forest, starving, homeless, and considering suicide until he meets Brother Asa, a young Shaker man who promises a full belly and a bed to sleep in if he comes to work at the Shaker commune, Harmony Hill. Lacey and Isaac are hurting and lonely and wondering if this is all that God created them for when they find each other. Gabhart has done a terrific job with this series of presenting both sides of the Shaker community, their deep abiding faith, work ethic, and desire for peace, along with the legalistic members and strange rules that seem almost crazy today. Gabhart really gives the reader the opportunity to get to know Lacey and Isaac, aching for their helplessness and hopelessness. Her writing is compelling and poignant and always has a message of faith and hope for readers.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Blessed by Ann H. Gabhart

    The fourth novel in Ann H. Gabhart's Shaker series is full of historical detail about the Shaker religion and other issues of faith. The Blessed, follows the story of a man and woman who are a part of the Shaker community, yet find themselves having feelings for each other. Gabhart fans will love the rich detail and the in depth research that Gabhart is known for. The authors ability to bring history to life is nothing short of amazing! This is a great Christian fiction read that will inspire readers to seek out that person that God has in store of each of them despite the circumstances. Being from Kentucky I am always interested in seeing how authors portray the Shaker religious community. Ann H. Gabhart has done a wonderful job in her Shaker series of allowing readers an inside look at a very private religion. In her latest book in the series, The Blessed, Gabhart not only gives readers a clear look at some of the beliefs and practices of the Shaker community, but she also delves into the subject of what happened when members had doubts about their faith. I thought she did an amazing job of bringing the Shakers to life. Gabhart has a knack for describing things in such a way that her books read more like a movie than a novel. The reader is transferred into the 1840's, right along with the characters. Gabhart touches on several different issues within this book. One of my favorites was the way that the relationship between Rachel and Lacey allowed readers to see that loving a child doesn't always have to come from birth. Lacey is not Rachel's real mother, but the feelings between the two of them are no less important. Lacey sacrificed so much of her life for Rachel that it is easy to see the love they share. I thought Gabhart's portrayal of the Rachel and Lacey was heartfelt and meaningful. Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was of course the relationship between Isaac and Lacey. Here you have two people who have come into the Shaker community without necessarily embracing the beliefs the Shaker's adhere to. Isaac is a widow, who lost his wife and Lacey is already married to the preacher. They are both in a community that doesn't believe in marriage. I wouldn't say it is against their will necessarily, but the circumstances have placed them in a helpless situation. But, throughout the story the characters learn that God works in mysterious ways to bring about the situations they need to learn from and be in. I thought Gabhart did a great job of showing the doubts the characters experienced and how they were able to come to the decisions God wanted for them. Things don't always go the way we expect them to and that is very apparent in this book. I recommend this one to Christian fiction readers and those who are interested in the Shaker religious community. The Shakers bordered somewhat on cultist behavior and I think the author is really able to convey that in her writing. You not only get a good Christian based story, but you also get a bit of a history lesson as well. Though this is the fourth book in the series it can be read as a stand alone. It's fast paced and can be read in a couple of sittings. I found it inspiring and very interesting.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Tender Story of God's Blessings....

    I loved this book. There isn't one simple thing that is my favorite. I just loved the book in all it's entirety. Ann H. Gabhart has outdone herself with this Shaker novel. I enjoyed her other novels centering around Shakers, but, like I said, this is one that I loved the most. Her writing style is still the wonderful same, her characters still created with a powerful passion, but this novel about being truly blessed with what you have or don't have, was truly moving.

    Lacey Bishop was a cast away and moved to the home of Miss Mona and her preacher husband. Along side Lacey comes another cast away...sweet little Rachel. Upon the death of Miss Mona, Lacey is given the care of Rachel, but to fulfill this and still have a home, Lacey is also forced to marry the Preacher. Something Lacey refuses to fulfill in every sense. Soon Lacey finds herself among the Shakers in a village where they live as brother and sister. But, will God ever bless her with TRUE love???

    Isaac Kensington lost his true love, and he blames himself. Cast out by his in-laws, he sets in search of "true happiness" and his baby sister, among the Shaker village. When he meets Lacey, things start to stir in his heart. He feels unworthy of her love when he can't quit blaming himself for the death of Ella, his first wife. Can God forgive him, and bless him with a new love?

    Reading Lacey and Isaac's story was beautiful. It was emotional and moving. I fell in love with Rueben, Rachel, Isaac and Lacey instantly, and didn't want this tender story to end! I highly recommend this with high 5 star praise to everyone looking for a wonderfully written, passionate story of God's love, grace and blessings to those seeking Him!

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Freedom of True Love

    The Blessed is my first introduction into the world of the Shakers. Not what I expected, but author Ann H. Gabhart kept my interest throughout the complete book! Ann, as an accomplished writer, brought out characters that you can relate to in this historical romance. The sorrow, pain, joy, compassion, and love is palpable in each of the specific characters. The love between mother and daughter is so tender and joyful.

    The secret, forbidden love interests were heartbreaking at one point and exciting on the other hand. How each character handled the issues is eye-opening, yet very human.

    The truth-seeking on the part of the some of the characters is inspiring and encouraging. What makes one person believe and another doubt? It's a question you will be asking throughout the story.

    For a great historical romance, with a peek into the world of the Shakers, this is a book I would highly recommend!

    This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Publicity Assistant for the Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review and participation in this blog tour.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Blessed

    Lacey Bishop has been living with Preacher Palmer and his wife since she was thirteen. Her father brought her to them so that she could help take care of the preachers sickly wife Miss Mona, while staying there a baby who they named Rachel was dropped on the preachers doorstep and Miss Mona and Lacey had raised her as their own. When Miss Mona dies the community thinks its improper for a twenty one year old girl to live under the same roof as the preacher. The preacher who is much older than Lacey decides they should marry and Lacey does what she has to do to continue to take care of Rachel. When the preacher decides they need to move to the Shaker village Lacey doesn't want to go but the preacher tells her he will take Rachel regardless forcing Lacey to go along. Once in the village she feels drawn to a Shaker man but relationships are forbidden. Will she ever find peace and happiness living the Shaker way of life?

    Isaac Kingston's dreams of settling out west are shattered when his wife dies. His wife's parents blame him for their daughters death and vow to make his life miserable. Without food or a place to stay a kind Shaker man invites him to their village. Isaac doesn't really believe the way the Shakers do but he stays because he really has no place else to go. When he meets Lacey he feels drawn to her but he knows she is married to the preacher.
    I normally read about the Amish so I was delighted to read a bit about the Shakers. The great thing about reading historical fiction is the fact that the author often weaves a history lesson into the story and with this book we certainly get a look at the Shaker lifestyle during the mid 1800's. I really thought the characters were compelling, and Lacey was someone that I found quite believable. I could easily understand how she made the choices she did so that she could take care of Rachel.
    Even though this book is part of a Shaker series that the author is writing, it can easily be read as a stand alone work, I haven't read any of the other books but had no problems jumping right into this one. I enjoyed this book so much I have already downloaded the other three books in the Shaker series and look forward to reading them.
    If you enjoy reading historical fiction that will give you a bit on insight into the Shaker way of life then you really should check out Ann Gabhart's Shaker series.

    A complimentary book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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    Posted October 4, 2013

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    Posted April 8, 2012

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    Posted November 25, 2011

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