The Innocent: A Novel

The Innocent: A Novel

by Ann H. Gabhart


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Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. The war ends without further word. Now penniless, in debt, and forced from her home, Carlyn seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, only to discover that they will not allow her to keep her beloved dog, an animal that has been her faithful companion since her husband went off to war. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie has pity on the lovely young woman and agrees to take the dog. Carlyn is just settling into life as a sister in the Shaker village when she receives a devastating letter confirming her worst fears. As she wrestles with whether to commit herself fully to the Shaker life, mysterious deaths begin to occur, and Carlyn comes under suspicion. Can Sheriff Mitchell help her expose the true culprit?

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart invites fans back to Harmony Hill for a story laced with intrigue, romance, and heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800723415
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 627,436
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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 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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The Innocent: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Very suspenseful and hard to put down! I just hope real Shaker life is not like the events of this story
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
The Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart is an historical Christian novel. It is September of 1865 and Carlyn Kearney has not heard from her husband in two years. He went off to fight in the Civil War and she did not hear from him after the summer of 1863. Carlyn is out of money and has no way to pay the lien on their property and home. Carlyn does not know what to do. She does not want to leave their home in case her husband, Ambrose comes back. Ambrose was listed as missing in action. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie arrives one day with Curt Whitlow. Curt owns the lien on the property. He has offered to help Carlyn out in exchange for certain favors (we all know he means sex). Curt is married with a family of his own, but that does not stop his roving ways. Sheriff Brodie is very nice and polite to Carlyn. Carlyn greets them at the door with a shotgun and her dog, Asher. Asher has been her friend since the day he arrived starving on her doorstep. Asher does not like Curt and is very protective of Carlyn. Carlyn has one week to leave. After much prayer Carlyn decides to go to the nearby Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Carlyn is accepted into the village, but not Asher. Carlyn asks Sheriff Brodie to watch Asher for her and give him a good home. Carlyn tries to fit into life at the village, but it is very different. They all have to dress the same way, no violence, a lot of work, many rules, and they are always being watched. Sister Edna is assigned to be Carlyn’s teacher or guide. Sister Edna seems to resent Carlyn (for her looks) and is always finding fault. One day Carlyn overhears an argument between Brother Henry Stratton and Curt Whitlow. The next night their barn with the horses is on fire and Brother Henry cannot be found. Sheriff Brodie sets out to find out who set fire to the barn and who wanted Brother Henry dead (poor man is found under a hay bale). Then Curt Whitlow is missing (and assumed guilty). When Sister Edna is found at the bottom of some steps during the night by Carlyn, Carlyn is accused of pushing her. What is going on in this village? Sheriff Brodie has his work cut out for him. Mitchell Brodie is also having feelings for Carlyn. He would like to get to know her better, but he is unable to with her in the village (Shaker’s are against marriage). Can Mitchell keep her safe and find a way to get to know her better? Does Carlyn have feelings for Mitchell? Read The Innocent to find out who is messing with the Shaker village and the fate of Carlyn and Mitchell. I give The Innocent 4 out of 5 stars. I liked it, but I admit to not loving it. It is heavy in scripture (a tad preachy). I enjoyed the mystery in the story (I cannot help it if I like mysteries). I found pleasure in how the story ended. Ann H. Gabhart is a good storyteller. I have read books of hers before, and I will definitely will read more of them in the future. She has a good understanding of the Shaker culture and put it together very nicely into this book (there are others as well). I received a complimentary copy of The Innocent from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
wfnren More than 1 year ago
Best in the series, even a little murder/mystery in here!!!!! This may be the best book in the series so far. A great story of love, faith and strength by one woman, who thinks she is alone against the world. Even a little bit of murder and mystery, so good. The one thing she encourages, through her mother, is to "pray anyway". What a good thing to remember/do, even if you think God isn't listening, if you have temporarily lost your faith, anytime you need help with anything, no matter how trivial it may seem to someone else, "PRAY ANYWAY". This has been a very interesting series and I would encourage all to read it. I learned a lot about the Shakers, even though they seem peaceful, loving and faithful, I almost feel like there is a problem with their lifestyle and sometimes they seem mean to me. I really don't think I could be a Shaker. I'd be interested to know what others opinions are.
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
The Innocent is a compelling story! I was immediately drawn to Carlyn Kearney and had such compassion for her and all she had endured. Carlyn’s canine companion was a beloved character in the story, as was Sheriff Mitchell Brodie. The intrigue of the plot kept me engrossed as I read and beckoned each time I set the book aside. Ann Gabhart is a gifted storyteller, and I loved the drama and romance of her latest tale! I received a complimentary copy of The Innocent in exchange for an unbiased review. I appreciate the opportunity to read this story and share my thoughts.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful edition to the Harmony Hill series. Carlyn has been alone for two years since her husband went to fight in the civil war. Everyone tells her he is dead since the war ended months before. She is to lose her home because she cannot pay the mortgage to a cruel owner who wants her for bad reasons. Because of this she meets the kind sheriff, Mitchell. She goes to the Shakers for help to keep eating and there she discovers a secret or two and the sheriff helps her in many ways. I loved the characters and the twists and turns in the story. I received this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion.
BookReviewerNicole More than 1 year ago
_______________________________________________ *My Thoughts* Unsure. That is an absolutely perfect, 190% accurate word to describe my feelings whenever I sign up for a book written by an author we rarely read in our house. Small Town girl by Anne Gabhart did appear wrapped under my tree a few years ago thanks to my wonderful mother. It was a delightful read. Except that it has absolutely nothing to do do with Shakers. And I've read absolutely NOTHING about shakers. So this...was a stretch. I did like it. I did. But in my heart of hearts, I must admit I have mixed feelings. I love the aspect of learning about other beliefs from times that seem so very far away. The idea of the book was pretty fantastic. I will admit though, to being a bit bored. I wanted to love it because Civil War time periods are my very favorite. But it really did feel like a lot of facts. Also, I can absolutely admit to being incredibly frustrated at the shakers but that is just my way. All of that aside, I absolutely, could NOT, well, not think about the book. I was constantly thinking about what Carlyn was up to. Whether Marshall was doing okay, if he was thinking about her. If Asher was happy or missing his owner. If the shaker community was up to no good. Part of that reason, was the unexpected suspense that mingles in after the middle of the book. I can't even tell you for sure when it started. Suddenly, I was hooked. There was NO WAY I was going to leave that book on the shelf without putting together the puzzle. NO way. It wasn't amateurish either. It was 100% the real deal. ____________________________________________________ *My overall thoughts* The Innocent by Anne Gabhart is really a different story. Bottom line? If you're looking for a completely different read following the heartbreak of the civil war, Shaker lifestyles, and mystery rolled into one fascinating story of love, this is for you! __________________________________________ *My Rating* I give The Innocent by Anne Gabhart... 4 stars!! *I received this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
Teresa More than 1 year ago
I love a good story and this is one! It is a story of mystery and wonderful characters. I especially enjoy watching the growth of the 2 main characters who have much to deal with in the aftermath of the Civil War.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
The Innocent was a very good read featuring a young woman whose husband has been missing since the Civil War ended two years previous. She finds herself in a most difficult situation trying to escape unscrupulous men and not wanting to go back to her tyrannical father. The Shaker lifestyle appears to be her only hope of escape. Ms. Gabhart did her research and I learned more about the Shakers and their very strange beliefs than I had known before. I really felt for our heroine Carlyn and her seemingly hopeless situation. Not knowing whether her husband is dead or alive, she fights a growing attraction to the town sheriff who seems to understand her. Not only a great history lesson but a story with a decidedly creepy vibe that kept me guessing on whom was to be the most feared. I really enjoyed the words that Carlyn always remembered her mother saying, and that was “pray anyway” no matter what the circumstances or even if you don’t think God is listening. ‘Pray anyway’ is a great take away life lesson. I received a copy of this book for an honest review from Revell Publishing and the opinions are my own.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
The Innocent is a fabulous read. Ann H Gabhart brings back another wonderful Shaker novel. I absolutely enjoyed this book. There is a touch of mystery, suspense and romance. I loved how it's just after the Civil War, which is my favorite time period. I love the main character Carlyn and, of course, her beloved dog, Asher. I thought this book was great and I highly recommend it. 5 stars
Robinhb More than 1 year ago
I loved this story. I truly felt for Carlyn in her state of limbo. Where does one go from limbo??? Turning to a Shaker Community seemed the answer to prayer. But was it??? Is she meant to be a Shaker??? Things begin happening in the community after her arrival and I found them to be quite mysterious. Carlyn knew all the answers lay in prayers but it just seemed to difficult to keep praying without seeing the answers. Know that feeling. Several layers of my own feelings were touched as the story proceeds. The storyline and writing definitely kept my interest and I couldn't wait to find out the answers to many questions. This is an excellent story and I highly recommend it. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Moonpie72 More than 1 year ago
The post-Civil war period was one of the most difficult times in history, not only for surveying soldiers, but also the families they left behind. This novel gave me an even deeper glimpse into how hard it was. In 1865, young Carlyn Kearney was one of those facing the aftermath. Her situation was complicated by the fact that her beloved husband, Ambrose, was reported missing 2 years ago. The last time she had heard from him was in 1863. Was he dead? Was she a widow? How long did she wait for him to return. She loved him and didn’t want to give up hope, but this was only a small part of the hardships she faced. I cannot imagine being a widow during that time. Tending the home was more than cleaning and paying the electric bill. There were animals to care for, a garden, and much more. Unable to pay the loan on their farm, Carlyn was being harassed and threatened by her repugnant and cruel landlord, Curt Whitlow. All she had for protection was her gun and her very capable dog Asher, whom she loved deeply. Finally the day came when Curt and Sheriff Mitchell Brodie, gave her a deadline to be out of her home. Sheriff Brodie was immediately taken with her courage, beauty, and vulnerability. Everything looks hopeless for the young widow but a saying of her mother’s continues to come to mind, “Pray anyway.” And that she does! She decides to join the local Shaker Community where she will receive food and shelter while she waits for word of Ambrose. She does not believe as they do, but she feels she can live with them for her needs to be met. Not allowing dogs, she is forced to give Asher to the Sheriff. Mitchell is fine with that as it gives him a way to keep in touch and feed his growing attraction to her. I knew little about the Shaker’s beliefs and practices other than their simplicity in living and ban against marriage. I was shocked and how far they took their strict behavior and lifestyle. It seemed a sad life built around rules and legalism. From how you spoke, to what you wore, and how you ate, their guidelines were extremely unyielding. Caryln found herself in a different kind of suffering and questioned if her decision to join was the right one. Strange things began to happen after Caryln arrived and of course the Shakers blamed her. This book is filled with many surprises and lots of excitement! Woven right through middle of all the action is a beautiful story of 2 people learning to love again, and strong faith in the midst of harrowing trials. What really left an impression on me was Caryln’s mother’s spiritual teaching, “Pray anyway.” It has come back to e many times since I read the book, and know it will continue to. I received this book free from Revell Reads Blog Tour Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I stated are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page 140, that is where this book came alive for me. Prior to that point, it was a pleasant read, but not compelling in any way. From that point, and through the remaining 242 pages, I could not put the book down. I am so glad that I had agreed to review the novel, otherwise I may not have continued reading, and I truly would have missed out. While I have read a number of Amish fiction novels, this is the first Shaker novel I have read. I will be looking for other Shaker novels by Gabhart. I know that there are at least five more from which to choose. While I have visited the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Danville, Kentucky several times, I learned a great deal more about the Shakers while reading The Innocent. I did do an internet search on some of the information included in the text, and found it to be accurate every time. Carlyn Kearney, Gabhart’s main character, grew up under her pastor father’s legalistic thumb, cushioned only slightly by her mother’s teaching of God’s grace and love. After marrying Ambrose, Carlyn blossomed as she came to understand the joy of the Lord. That joy was difficult to sustain, however, due to Ambrose’s uncertain fate two years after the end of the Civil War. Being unable to support herself, let alone pay her debts, Carlyn seeks shelter and peace within the boundaries of the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. While thankful for food and shelter, Carlyn does not readily fit into the Shaker way of life. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie cannot deny his attraction to Carlyn, but respects her faithfulness to her husband even though the townsfolk assume that she is indeed a widow. He longs to insure her safety as every instinct within him is on alert to something being very wrong in the Shaker village. It is at that page 140 mark that Carlyn herself becomes aware of dangerous undercurrents among the sisters and brethren. One thing I really appreciate about Christian fiction is the lessons that one can take away. I hope that in the darkest and most difficult times, the times when hope seems lost or when my body is exhausted, I will remember the echo of Carlyn’s mother’s admonishment to, “Pray anyway.” When looking for the answers I desire, the good I want to come, I hope I recall her saying, “Assuredly. God is love. But he sees the whole woven fabric of our lives and not simply the few threads we are trying to twine together at the moment. Good and bad weave into the pattern of our lives. Together they make us strong and able to endure whatever must be endured.” God equips us in many ways, some easier than others. I recommend this book to those who have the time and patience to allow the author to develop her characters before increasing the tension that drives the reader forward. It is my belief that readers will find it worth the wait; I certainly did. I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing The Innocent for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
poodlelover More than 1 year ago
“A rich and rewarding read you won’t want to miss!” is a quote from the back cover, and that’s putting it mildly! From page one I became so involved in the characters and story. Life in the 1800’s after the Civil War is difficult, more so for a woman whose husband is considered ‘missing’ during the war. Carlyn Kearney finds herself alone not knowing if she is a widow, or if she just needs to wait for her beloved Ambrose to find his way home. Broke with no way to meet her annual payment on her home she is forced out by an unsavory landlord, Curt Whitlow. When the sheriff, Mitchell Brodie, and Curt come to evict her, Carlyn captures the sheriff’s heart. He sees her as brave and being pretty doesn’t hurt! Her dog, Asher, is less than friendly to Curt. Aren’t animals good judges of character? Carlyn felt hopeless with no choices and remembers her mother's advice to 'pray anyway' no matter the circumstance so after praying, she makes the decision to join the Harmony Hill Shakers. With her arrival strange things start to happen and the leadership looks to Carlyn, as if the things happening began with her. When Carlyn is forced to give up Asher to the sheriff, she is sad but believes he’ll be in good hands. When Asher runs away and then Carlyn is missing, Mitchell realizes his feelings for Carlyn may be more than he originally thought, plus he realizes that if he’s lost Asher and now Carlyn, if and when he finds them will Carlyn want anything to do with him? Lots of plot twists and turns that make the story interesting and believable. Ann Gabhart is indeed a gifted writer!