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Ann H. Gabhart brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry, the simple Shakers, and the ravages of war to weave a touching story of love, freedom, and forgiveness that sticks with readers long after they have turned the last page.
Posted May 15, 2013
Very good read. Presents the Shaker life from the good and bad point of view, but overall leaves one with a respect for their way of life...in the middle of family conflict, in the middle of war., iin the middle of a love story Quite enjoyable!
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Posted December 26, 2011
Enjoyed this book to the very last page. Keeps your interest till the end. Great Author ....... love the stories. Keep up the great work !!!!
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Posted May 30, 2011
Good and bad; right and wrong; they don't always go together as we think they should.
<i>The Seeker</i> by Ann Gabhart is romance, and romance lovers won't mind the cheesiness that creeps in very occasionally. Fans of <i>Gone with the Wind</i> will eat up the opening party scene on the verge of the American Civil War. The female lead, Charlotte Vance, daughter of a Kentucky state senator, has all the spunk of Scarlet O'Hare as well as her love for the land. There is even a Rhet Butler character who steals passionate kisses in the rose garden, but from there the story takes completely different directions.
Charlotte follows Edwin (the "Ashley" character) to the local Shaker village where her plans to win him back fail completely. She must learn to submit her plans to the Lord, take her needs to him in prayer and trust him even as she cannot commit herself to the Shaker way of life. Meanwhile Adam Wade, illustrator for the popular newspaper <i>Harper's Weekly</i>, goes his way to draw the scenes of war, haunted by memories of the beautiful girl in the garden.
Gabhart knows the Shakers well and presents them with sympathy. I find myself identifying with their values of simplicity, peace, equality and hard work, and yet from a Biblical standpoint, they were heretics. They believed their founder, Ann Lee, was the second coming of Christ in female form. After all, if God made both male and female in his image, he must be feminine as well as masculine. This gender equality sounds very twenty-first century, but elevating Mother Ann to the level of Christ and praying to her as well as the Eternal Father is blasphemous to any biblical Christian.
Gabhart presents some Shakers as grim; others as finding serenity in the Shaker way of life. Edwin, Charlotte's intended at the beginning of the book, blossoms and seems to find confidence in a way that he never had growing up in his grandmother's shadow. But as Charlotte's former maid, Mellie, says, "We'd best keep our eyes fastened on Jesus till we know more about this Mother Ann and her spirit fruit." (p.162)
So how is right thinking related to righteous behavior? The Shakers were guilty of gross heresy, but their reputation for peace, a strong work ethic and feeding the hungry (as many as 14,000 in one day after the Battle of Perryville!) has been handed down for more than a century. (They are also known for the "lively" worship that gave them their popular name and the weird doctrine forbidding marriage, which played no small part in their dying out.)
Gabhart doesn't examine the question theologically. She presents people with strengths and weaknesses, joys and pain, growing as they interact with one another in the context of a Shaker village and a terrible war. Her writing is excellent, and she left me with a great deal to think about.
Posted April 12, 2011
Posted October 10, 2010
This book has a huge amount of historical fact contained within its fictional pages. Ann Gabhart really went above and beyond in piquing the curiosity of a novice historian. She incorporates a love for the humanity of the American slaves and brings forth an unlikely heroine who brings a change in the lives of a few of her own slaves in a place and time precarious to slave owners. Along the way this young woman learns how to leave the plans of her world in God's hands and trust that His plans are far better than hers ever could have been. In addition, Ann Gabhart, incorporates the beginning of the civil war and the role of the Shakers at that time into the lives of her subjects in such a way as to entice the reader into searching for other books about that particular time in history. This is the third in Ann Gabhart's Shaker series and, after reading all three, this is the one I liked the best. It can be read as a stand-alone even though it is about the same Shaker village as the others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 28, 2010
Vertical Reach = 5
I love the way Ann gives insight into the prayer life of Charlotte and Adam without making their story preachy. They express understandable and beautiful urgent honesty.
Ministry Message = 4
Lost a bit in the oddness (in my humble opinion) of the Shaker life is Charlotte's need to fix things for everyone. In the wake of the internal and external conflicts of the time she is learns that trying to save everyone may not be the best way to live.
Craft = 4
Gabhart has pure talent and ability to paint the picture of historically set Christian fiction. From the almost literary feel of the scenery to the expression in dialogue she is writes the story well.
Aesthetics = 4
I'm bereft of ways to say how Revell continues to offer spot on covers. I can count on one hand how well it is they bring the story to life on front, back and spine.
Dollars & $ense = 4.25
Historical fiction readers will read this story and find it absolutely wonderful.
Posted July 27, 2010
The Seeker by Ann Gabhart is the third in The Shakers series. Charlotte Vance has long been used to running her family estate, Grayson, in Kentucky until her father brings home a new wife, Selena, who is young enough to be his daughter and who has her own ideas on how Grayson should be cared for. Charlotte's fiance, who would have been her escape from her Selena's reign of terror, but he's broken their engagement to join the Shakers, a religious community nearby that believes in communal living but no marriage. He invites her to join the community as well, and Charlotte is forced to accept before Selena ships her off to boarding school. Before she leaves, newspaper artist Adam Wade tempts her with a kiss in the garden, a kiss that will carry them both through the trying years to come. Gabhart is an extraordinarily talented writer who perfectly renders a tumultuous time in American history. Charlotte and Adam's meeting in the garden is equal to that of Scarlett and Rhett in Gone with the Wind: a feisty heroine who has just been embarrassed by a man, and a mustached gentleman with a devilish grin who is unafraid to tease her and steal a kiss. As the nation is headed toward Civil War, Charlotte and Adam are both caught up in events bigger than they are. Charlotte is a strong-willed and intelligent heroine (who actually looks like the cover model) and readers will enjoy reading about her growth in character and faith. Adam begins as a bit of a rake, but as the book and war progress, he becomes worthy of Charlotte and finds faith of his own. Gabhart's books feel like so much more than just a romance; she packs in history, suspense, drama, and faith all with a powerful punch. I can't wait to read whatever she does next.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2010
THE SEEKER by Ann H. Gabhart is an Inspirational historical fiction set in 1861 Mercer County, Kentucky. It is an inspiring story of love and sacrifice. It is well written with details and depth. It has faith, devotion, courage, sacrifice, betrayal, forgiveness, grace, freedom, slavery, and love that blooms despite the circumstances.The characters are selfish, strong, and will draw you into the story and keep you wanting more. It is a fast paced, page turning story. The heroine, Charlotte, is a true Southern Belle thrust into the world of the Shakers for her safety and seclusion. The hero, Adam, does illustrations for a newspaper, he is brought into Charlotte's life by her new stepmother. He and Charlotte will become close through their trials and tribulation. This is a wonderful love story even through the ravages of war in 1860 Kentucky, it weaves forgiveness, freedom,love, the different worlds between the simple Shaker world and the world of the Southern belle. I would highly recommend this story for it is truly in inspiring story, gives some insight into the Shaker world, and shows how love can overcome the atrocities around us. This book was received for review and details can be found at Revell and My Book Addiction and More.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2010
The Seeker by Ann H Gabhart is a book about Charlotte Vance, a strong willed young woman set in Kentucky in the 1860's. Charlotte has her whole life planned out for her. Who she will marry, the land she will inherit, the path she will go. Until her father brings home a new wife and her life begins to fall apart at the seems. In a desperate attempt to escape her "step-mother's" clutches and win back her beau, Charlotte joins the local Shaker community. Although this is a historical fiction, Ann Gabhart lives just 30 miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky and therefore brings a lot of truth and an edge of history to the novel.
What I loved about this book: The Seeker was fascinating to me because I had never heard of the Shakers. To be honest, when I saw the white cap on the front image, I was sure it was an Amish story. The Shaker's fascinated me. I found this story incredibly believable. The characters were believable. Charlotte is believable. It is not a perfect story, it is a hard story that I believe depicts life in a more natural life. Love is not portrayed as easy or taken for granted. It is a realistic, interesting, and very satisfying read. I loved the ending. This book is not predictable.
What I didn't love about this book: It is hard to come up with any criticism for this book as I enjoyed it so much. You definitely have to be a fan of historical christian romance to enjoy this book. This book is no epic that will change your life, but it is an enjoyable and interesting read.
Overall, I would recommend The Seeker if you like the category. It is a great book for a rainy day or to give as a gift.
**I received a free copy of this book through Baker Publishing House
Posted July 15, 2010
The Seeker is a book that grabbed my interest and held me until the end. I remember getting about halfway through it and looking at the whole book thinking it was not long enough because I was so involved in the characters. Charlotte Vance is a strong, Southern Belle who appreciates the benefits of her pre-Civil War life without being insensitive to its effects on others. As an only child, she formulates a plan for her life at a young age and intends to maintain that path if through determination alone. But her plan is interrupted by the influence of the Shaker's peaceful way of life on the man expected to help her achieve her goals. As she begins to face this problem, her world is thrown into turmoil with family issues and the approach of the Civil War. This story is an inspiring tale of a never-beaten spirit who learns about peace and the simple pleasures in spite of her indulgent upbringing. The history of the War and the Shakers weave throughout the story of Charlotte's life giving you a window into her world. The detailed situations brought to mind similar situations in my own life and touched my heart in an unexpected way. This was the first I have read of this series, but, as I write this, The Outsider has been purchased and is now waiting for me to begin.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.