Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story

Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story

by Ann H. Gabhart

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It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband's army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation--deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, where her great aunt Sophrena lives. There, after many peaceful years at Harmony Hill, Sophrena is having doubts about her Shaker path. Both women are in need of love and forgiveness--whether given or received. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?

Ann H. Gabhart's many fans will be thrilled to return to Harmony Hill at Christmastime for this stirring story of healing and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441244413
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/15/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 122,762
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--as well as other historical novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Find out more at
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at

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Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
The Shakers have long been of interest to me. Their furniture inspirations are beautiful but their actions are odd. In this Christmas novel about the Shaker settlement of Harmony Hill, Ann Gabhart allows us a peek into the traditions and doctrines that go along with the Shaker movement. We are transported to Harmony Hill when Gideon sends his very pregnant wife home from the battlefield during the Civil War. Heather thinks she'll be going home to have her baby with the help of her momma. Once she makes it there she finds that circumstances have changed and she leaves to seek refuge with her Aunt Sophrena at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Unbeknownst to Gideon and Heather they are both going to be brought through the valley of the shadow of death. Providence brings people alongside them to help them through their trials. Their lives will never be the same nor will the lives around them. I enjoyed reading about how the hand of God is at work in situations long before those situations come about. Ms. Gabhart doesn't gloss over the flaws with the Shaker movement, nor does she bash their ways. I appreciated learning more about the movement while being entertained by a heartwarming Christmas story. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
It was really interesting learning about the Shaker community in this novel. I knew nothing about their ideas/beliefs and many times found myself asking the same questions alongside Heather about why they believed/did something. I also liked seeing the Shaker community through Heather’s eyes, an outsider, and Sophrena, a Shaker. It gave two very interesting perspectives. I loved the focus of children being a gift from God! Like Heather I could not image a place without marriage or babies in a community. I believe both are such a blessing and I'm so glad that it was encouraged in this book as so. The theme of forgiveness was so beautiful and made the ending that much sweeter. I could very easily relate to both ladies in their struggle with bitterness against a certain family member. Overall this was a good story, but I'm not sure if I would recommend it. I felt the first half was very sad and slightly depressing for a Christmas novel. This isn’t a bad thing, but I was caught by surprise at the heartache and loneliness. However the ending is such a joyful reunion due to all of this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story and didn't want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't make a good Shaker, would you? Read my review of "Christmas at Harmony Hill" by Ann H Gabhart
sunshineJB More than 1 year ago
Will Love Prevail? Christmas at Harmony Hill is another great read by this author.  I was immediately drawn into the story line from the beginning.  My heart ached for both Gideon and Heather.  I worried about their future.  Would Gideon survive the war and would Heather survive being turned away from her family home in her time of need. As this story goes back and forth between what is happening with Gideon and what is going on with Heather the reader begins to wonder if a happy ending is possible. War is not pretty and being lonely is not the ideal situation either. Decisions have to be made, lives have to change, love must carry on, forgiveness must be extended, and faith in God that everything will work out must be there. I highly recommend this book!
PianoLady831 More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed Ann Gabhart's Shaker series, which explores the lifestyle and beliefs of an unusual religious group in Kentucky, and the novella Christmas at Harmony Hill is a welcome addition. The stories are set in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, and while this novella features a character from one of the previous novels, each story stands alone and can be read in any order. Christmas at Harmony Hill is a well-researched novel with a vivid sense of setting. One indication of an excellent historical novel is that it makes the reader desire to know more, and that's the effect Ann's series has had on me. The Shakers were a peace-loving group who strived for simplicity and offered hospitality to all in need. Their goal was to live as those in heaven lived: "Without acrimony. Without the stress of individual family life. Without wars and conflicts. With simple peace." But to accomplish that, all family relationships were dissolved, so that "children lived in a children's house and the mothers were now sisters to their sons and daughters" - a belief so incomprehensible to me that I can't see how this group existed for so many years. And worship consisted of spirit-filled dancing in which the sins of the world were shaken off. God's hand of care and provision is seen in Sophrena's initial longing to reconnect with her family after spending years in the Shaker community, which led Heather there in her time of need. The growing relationship between two ladies, and the way Heather, in the weeks leading up to her delivery, reflected on what Mary's feelings might have been were special touches that I enjoyed. Even though the war kept Heather and Gideon apart for most of the book, Ann did a great job of fleshing these characters out and making their love feel real. I loved the scene where, as Gideon's company was marching away, he broke rank for one last goodbye kiss. Heather reflects: "He was ready to dance to whatever tune the day might be playing. But he promised to always give her the first and last dance." Christmas at Harmony Hill is a sweet story of healing and hope, told against the backdrop of the Shaker community who not only accepted Heather, but showed the love of Christ in their own way. I enjoyed this story, as well as Ann's other books, and recommend it to those who enjoy inspirational fiction. This book was provided by Revell in exchange for my honest review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Ann H. Gabhart in her new book, “Christmas At Harmony Hill” published by Revell lets us experience Christmas with Heather Worth. From the back cover:  A stirring story of healing, hope, and home at Christmas It is 1864 and the nation is torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. With her husband at the front and nowhere else to turn, she seeks refuge in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Amid the tumult of the times, Heather yearns for the peace she sees in this strange community. But can this longing really be fulfilled amid these people with their peculiar beliefs about family? As Christmas approaches, the joy of new life and the love that is born of forgiveness may hold the answer. Join bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart for a peek into the world of the Shakers–and the world of the human heart. There is a reason why there are so many stories about Christmas on the television about this time and that reason is everyone loves a good story where the spirit of Christmas changes a person by healing them of old hurts to free them to be themselves.  That’s why everyone wishes Christmas could last all year round.  History, The Civil War and a Husband and Wife separated by battle right before she is to give birth to their firstborn. Where do you go when you cannot go home and you have no money?  A note from Heather’s mother sends her to the Shaker village where her Great Aunt lives.  Heather is drawn to these people but also is a bit terrified due to all the stories she has heard. “Christmas At Harmony Hill” is all about Heather and family; the family she has with her husband, her mother and father and then with her great aunt.  This is a wonderful story that has a really neat take on the values of Christmas.  ”Christmas At Harmony Hill” is one sweet read that you might want to read twice and then keep it handy to read again next year. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” “Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
CHRISTMAS AT HARMONY HILL by Ann H. Gabhart is an interesting inspirational Christmas Fiction set in 1864 Harmony Hill. A Shaker story. 1864 was a harsh time for our country, North against South,brother against brother, family against family. Heather Worth discovers she is with child and her husband is on the frontlines, with nowhere to turn, she decides to go back home to Harmony Hill, a Shaker Village,where to seeks to find peace and harmony for herself and her unborn child. But can her family forgive her for marrying a Yankee? Cozy up by the fire for a quick Christmas time read that will have you turning pages. With her usual finese, Ms. Gabhart pens a story fill of hope, faith, forgiveness, healing and love. You get a glimpse into the world of the Shakers and the true power of love. A great Christmas read filled with longing and hope. A must read! Received for an honest review from the publisher. “Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.” RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
Christmas is a time of miracles and Ann H. Gabharts Christmas gift book set during the Civil War is about the miracle of life.  Gabhart's simple, yet elegant writing style, coupled with amazing research and a heart for stories of God's love and faith make this a must read for this Christmas season.  A great Christmas read!  Christmas at Harmony Hill is a Christmas novella and a part of Gabhart's Shaker series. I was really excited to receive it since the Shaker series is one of my favorites because it is set in Kentucky and centers around the Shaker faith. Gabhart always does such a wonderful job bringing the Shakers to life and educating readers about the faith of this small but mighty group of believers. Readers who have not read any of Gabhart's books or know very little about the religion will find a great starting place with this book. It is short, at only 208 pages but each one is worth the read.  The relationship between Heather and Gideon is strong and beautiful. Heather defies her father by marrying a man who is fighting for the union during the Civil War. She follows him to battle and becomes a washerwoman, cleaning the uniforms of the soldiers. But when Heather becomes heavy with her first child, she and Gideon must decide what's best for the baby. I loved the way that Gabhart is able to show the love between these two characters and how much this child meant to them both. Heather was very courageous to follow Gideon even into war and she loves him dearly. She doesn't want to leave him but knows it's for the best.  The resistance of her family when she returned home was hard to understand and believable. This was such a hard time in American history. Heather's father can not reconcile the fact that his daughter married a man who could in part have been responsible for deaths among their own family members and he turns her away out of grief and desperation. I thought Gabhart really nailed it with this portrayal of what was going on in the minds and hearts of families that were torn apart by this conflict. It was such an honest portrayal and very poignant. Heather goes to Aunt Sophrena at the Shaker village for help. The beliefs of the Shakers are not well known and I thought that Gabhart did an amazing job with showing the reader what they believed and why. She doesn't just fall into the trap of relating these truths through a narrator but lets the characters show what they believe. It felt authentic and believable. This was a people who do not believe in marriage and believed children should be raised apart from their parents. This is contrary to what Heather and Gideon wanted but Heather has very little choice. I liked the fact that Gabhart shows both sides of the Shaker beliefs and thought she did a great job of showing Heather's struggles with what she wanted for her child. The birth of a child is truly one of the great miracles of God. This story has all the earmarks of a great Christmas story. Wonderful characters, a serious conflict, and faith. God has a plan and figuring it out isn't always easy, but he knows what he's doing in spite of how it may sometimes look. This is a book about life and about forgiveness and I thought it was simply amazing!
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
A very heartwarming story, and it touches a lot of areas of life in America during the Civil War. First we have Heather defying her father and marrying a man with sympathies towards the North. She leaves and becomes a wife, and washer woman, following her husband and camp to battles. Life was so hard, and so many senseless deaths. When Heather becomes heavy with child, she return back home, where her father is so consumed with grief, turns her away for marrying the Northerner. Now she had no where to go...she is tired, hungry and ready to have a baby. Heather's sister Beth gives her a letter from her Mother and tells he to go the her Aunt Sophrena at the Shaker Village at Harmony Hill. Will the Shakers taker her in, will they make her give up her baby? Will Heather's husband Gideon survive the harsh war? Enjoy this quick reading story and see God's hand in a lot of the happenings. We have a lot to appreciate for the sacrifices made by many. I received this book through the Baker Publishing Group bloggers program, and was not required to give a positive
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
The cover of Christmas at Harmony Hill introduces the novel as a Shaker story, with its shaker village depicted in a setting of snow.  I love learning about other cultures, discovering more about myself as I think on the beliefs I am presented with through the stories, as well as finding out about how history shapes our lives today.  Sophrena left her family to follow her abusive husband to the Shaker village years ago and has made her peace with events that happened, as well as making a place for herself in the village. Heather, her great-niece is pregnant with her and Gideon's first child, and Gideon does not want her to follow the army, even as a washerwoman anymore. So, the story does not only give us a vivid glimpse into the lives of the Shaker community, but also into what life would have been like on the front in a war. Forgiveness is important, more for us than for the one that has wronged us, but often comes only after a  tense and deep battle with ourselves. Read this Christmas novella and the thoughts will embed themselves and bring forth meaning in the days to come. "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 
poodlelover More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Harmony Hill is set during the Civil War. A sad time for our country where families are torn apart by some members fighting for one side while others in the same family become their enemy. Heather Worth finds herself with nowhere else to go after she discovers she is with child and has to leave her job as laundress with her husband, Gideon's army unit. Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions rather than continue south with his unit. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker Village of Harmony Hill. Author Ann Gabhart does thorough research of the Shakers and gives her readers insight into this strange community of believers. You will find yourself relating to Heather's Aunt Sophrena as she struggles with doubts while Heather struggles with thoughts that she might never see her husband Gideon again or that he may never see their baby. A great book to read as we approach the Christmas season or at any time of the year. Another must-read from Ann Gabhart.
Amish1949 More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story by Ann H. Gabhart (Goodreads Author) 6448715 Janie R. Freeman's review Oct 04, 13 · edit 5 of 5 stars bookshelves: amish-books Read from October 02 to 04, 2013 A heartwarming story taking place in an Shaker setting during the Civil War, during Christmas time. A story about how war and death affected this family. I really liked the characters of Heather and Sister Sophrena- Shaker sister-she is Heather's aunt. It's a story about how the exchange of forgiveness and love can change hearts turned cold and bitter. A beautiful story! Thanks, Ann!