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Praise for Ann Gabhart's Shaker Novels
"The book rings with researched authenticity."--Publishers Weekly about The Outsider
"A definite can't-put-it-down book."--Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author, about The Seeker
"A tender and inspiring read."--Ann Tatlock, award-winning author, about The Blessed
"From cover to cover, The Blessed captivates and challenges--an absolutely wonderful read."--Judith Miller, author of A Bond Never Broken
Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has walked the same paths 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, The Blessed, and Angel Sister.
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Words Spoken True, Angel Sister, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and The Blessed. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.
Posted August 27, 2012
Ann H. Gabhart has again gifted us with another book about living with the Shakers. When I read about their lives, the work ethic is marvelous, but the idea of living without married love is not for me.
Young Jassamine Brady has lived with the Shakers since before she turned 10 years of age. She had been living with her Grandmother in the Mountains, and became a God loving free spirit. Now she has a hard time keeping fairy tales out of her mind, and just living the Shaker life.
She actually made me think Maria in the "Sound of Music".
You will wonder how such a "free" spirit can stay a Shaker. She is under the watchful eyes all the time of the elders...can you imagine peep holes?
The story begins when she wants to find out about parasols?? Huh! That is what Sister Annie thinks as she drags her through the woods and countryside looking for...um raspberries!
This is where the adventure begins, and life will never be the same. This is the third of the four books in this series that I have read. I also learn quite a bit of history reading these books. Don't miss this enjoyable book about a past segment of American life.
I received this book through Net Galley, and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted August 21, 2012
This was an excellent book-I loved it! The last book in the Shaker
series, and I am sad because I didn't want it to end. Ann H.Gabhart is
an amazing writer, you just have to read this book, you won't be
disappointed! I highly recommend this book!
Posted August 13, 2012
Jessamine Brady tries to be a good Shaker. She really does, but she often misses the mark, as questions constantly tug at her. Obedience among believers at Harmony Hill is expected, and curiosity, particularly about the outside world, is discouraged. There are, after all, many dangers in 1849 to pull believers from the right path. Yet Jessamine aches for a glimpse of the forbidden life. Unable to quell her interest, she stretches for a peek, thinking it might satisfy her restless heart.
Tristan Cooper cannot remember his name, or why someone shot him in the woods near Harmony Hill. He does recall, however, the beautiful young woman who came to his rescue. While recovering at the Village, his memory returns, but he wrestles with a decision. Should he stay sequestered among the Shakers, or return to society and fulfill family responsibilities?
Jessamine’s and Tristan’s worlds collide in an unlikely way; neither can forget their encounter. Jessamine has nowhere else to go, and has resigned to a life with the believers. Tristan longs for a purpose of his own, but is obligated to his widowed mother. Both go through the motions of accepting the life set before them. Will they continue on the paths others have chosen for them? Or will they step out on to another?
Ann Gabhart stirs a strong combination of personalities in her latest Shaker adventure. The Gifted transports readers to a different world, one where secrets and surprises await. Jessamine’s rocky journey to find her purpose tests her limits and shows her who she really is.
This engaging story will entertain, challenge, and perhaps even pull at your heartstrings a bit. I love historical fiction, and in my opinion, Ann has it down pat. Her books deliver every time.
Posted July 8, 2012
The Gifted by Ann Gabhart is the fifth book in her popular Shaker series about the unusual religious group of the 19th century. Jessamine Brady is a true innocent in the world. The first half of her of life was spent living with her granny, isolated in the woods and listening to the old woman's fairy tales and stories about the Lord. The last half of her life has been spent among the Shakers. When Jessamine was just ten, her granny died, leaving her alone in the world, so she was taken in by the community. She loves working with her hands and worshiping the Lord, but poor Jessamine has never been able to completely follow all of the rules as set forth by the Shakers. She has stories and songs that fill her heart, but are forbidden as sinful, and she has a deep curiousity about the outside world, especially on this one day, parasols, which leads her deeper and deeper into the woods, hoping to encounter White Oak Springs, a fashionable spa where the ladies are known to carry them. Instead of seeing a parasol, Jessamine finds a man who appears to have fallen off of his horse after being shot at. He claims to have no memory of who he is, and Jessamine can't quite seem to keep her hand from touching his face and enjoying the feel of the stubble on his face. Tristan Cooper did indeed lose his memory at first and thought he had been discovered by an angel. Later when his memory returns, he decides to keep that knowledge hidden while he recovers in the Shaker community in order to find out just who would be shooting at him and why. Tristan and Jessamine can't seem to stop thinking about each other, so she is soon in trouble with the elders for breaking too many rules, and he is sent on his way back to the world. Gabhart is terrific at recreating the mysterious world and religion of the Shakers, and she manages to do so without being overly negative about some of their stranger practices. Jessamine is such an innocent that everyone (including readers) who meet her can't help but be drawn to her sweet nature and love of life. Tristan is more of a cipher, despite Gabhart's attempts, I couldn't quite get a grasp of just who he was, and I felt the same way about Sheldon Brady. Because I couldn't relate to either of them, this book didn't have the power for me of previous books in this series. Something was missing just a bit in this volume, so it isn't up the five star status of the other books, but it's still a fascinating read.
Posted July 7, 2012
Jessamine was left with Granny when her mother died soon after childbirth. Raised the first ten years of her life in a secluded cabin in the woods, she was taken to the Shakers at Harmony Hill when Granny stopped breathing one day. At the beginning of the novel, she has been with them for nine years absorbing their teaching, but as she approaches the time to sign her Covenant, she has more questions of which the Shakers do not approve.
When she finds an injured man and brings him back to Harmony Hill for his wounds to be treated, she can't stop thinking about the handsome stranger. His presence only adds to her confusion regarding the teachings she has received. When he leaves the community, she thinks she will never see him again. But when Sister Sophrena finds the letter that was meant to be given to Jessamine on her 12th birthday, everything begins to change. Soon, Jessamine has to make a choice between the quiet, simple Shaker community and the world in which she has never lived.
When this novel came up for review, I practically jumped through the laptop trying to get it. I have been fascinated by the Shakers ever since my childhood in Kentucky when we visited the Shaker Village at South Union. The market has not been flooded with fictional novels about the Shakers as it has been with the Amish, so this was exciting news. This was the first of Ms. Gabhart's novels that I have had the chance to read, but I loved it. Her knowledge of the Shakers is phenomenal. Occasionally the dialogue seemed a little uneven and stilted, but then again, 9 years with the Shakers might have caused a person to sound like that. It was a very well written novel and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or has enjoyed the Amish fiction but needs a break from that subject.
4 very happy stars
“Available July 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Posted July 2, 2012
Posted July 2, 2012
This is my first encounter with a novel based on Shaker life. The Shakers like the Amish hold a fascination with folks today because their beliefs and life styles are so vastly different from that which we are accustomed. I was vaguely familiar with the beliefs of the Shakers and their strict separation of men and women. But this book with it's authentically researched storyline was a true eye opener. I found it difficult to read because of my feelings that it was just so wrong for people to give themselves so completely and without reservation to the Shaker belief system and life. It is little wonder to me that the Shaker beliefs and communities have died out. Now about this book..... Jessamine Brady was taken to the Shaker village of Harmony Hill when she was but 10 years old because there was no where else for her to go and no one to care for her. She was well cared for and taught the Shaker religious beliefs and way of life by the senior Sisters. She struggled with memories of stories (make believe) that her Grandmother had told her and dreams of life outside of the Shaker village. However, ­make believe was a sin as was any thought of the outside world. Shaker community life consisted of work, prayer, food (in silence), sleep, and worship. Nothing else was allowed. Their worship consisted of learned dance steps that they did as a group basically separated - men on one side of the room and women on the other. Stomping, fainting, whirling. Jessamine was out in the woods with another Sister picking berries when they heard a gun and investigated. They found a man from the outside world unconscious and with a head wound. They took him back to Harmony Hill for care. Thus Tristan Cooper enters the scene. This opens the door to Jessamine to the outside world and the dreams from her past. The book is lengthy (431 pages) and the internal struggles of Jessamine and descriptions of Shaker life are extensive. To me it was sad. I appreciated the dedication of the Shakers to their faith, but it was depressive to see such repression of thinking, expression, care. There was actually evil contention (in my opinion) by Sisters against Jessamine for perceived sins. Jessamine does get a taste of the world and the impact on her is difficult. She sees worldly beauty, but she also gets to thoroughly enjoy the birds singing and the beauty of flowers and woods and clouds and sky - a sin to enjoy such in the Shaker community. Her heart is touched with emotions for Tristan that in Shaker life she must repress, but in the world she does not need to repress as a sin. Will she be able to conform for a lifetime of Shaker life and its separation from the world or will she embrace her heart's feelings and be able to live in the World? I enjoyed the book and the tender story. I would recommend the book to anyone who desires a sweet story, an authentically research insight into Shaker life and beliefs, and a well-written book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.