The Refuge

The Refuge

by Ann H. Gabhart

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Overview

When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique—and lonely—position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800729271
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 455,911
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(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 other historical novels, including Angel Sister, These Healing Hills, and River to Redemption. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm's fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dog, Frankie. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.

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The Refuge 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
armom 12 days ago
Loved, loved, loved this story! I would give it more than five stars, if possible. Darcie and her husband, Walter, go to a Shaker village to flee from the cholera epidemic. Shakers seem to escape the cholera, so it seemed a safe place to go. While they were safe, they were also separated as the Shakers believe matrimony to be a sin. While this distressed Darcie and Walter, they felt they had to abide by the rules until they were able to leave the village. Unfortunately, due to a horrific accident, Darcie is left a widow. A very young widow. How will she ever be able to leave now as she has no where to go. No one to turn to. Walter was her only family. Or was he? Then, Darcie realizes she is pregnant with a child she and Walter had conceived before arriving at the Shaker village. How will she ever be able to leave now? She must protect her child at all costs. The child brings joy to Darcie, and even the staunch Shaker women who seem to seldom smile. Children are kept in the Children's House, separated from their parents. They become Sister and Brother, rather than a son or daughter. All the women are Sisters and the men, Brothers. It is the Shaker way. Darcie is allowed to keep her precious baby girl with her as she is nursing her. But, the day will come, all too soon, when she will be taken from Darcie to live in the Children's House. Darcie will no longer be allowed to 'mother' her own child. What heartbreak! Darcie prays constantly for a way to be made to keep her and her daughter together. For her to be able to leave with her baby girl. We see that the Shakers are kind, in that they will take people into their village, even if a person is only there for a short time to escape other troubles, such as not being able to feed their family, or to escape the cholera as Darcie and Walter did. Flynn brings his young daughter, Leatrice, to the Shakers as his home is no longer safe for her., due to circumstances beyond his control. He promises it will not be long until he brings her home again. Leatrice finds a friend in Darcie and loves helping her with the babies. Babies? Yes, for an infant boy was left in the Shaker Village. They say this is not all that unusual. People all seem to be aware that the Shakers will care for anyone in need. To remain, you must adhere to their rules. While claiming to be Christians, they most definitely are not. They live by many man-made, or woman-made rules. They are very legalistic in their beliefs. They also have Watchers making certain the men and women are kept separate. No wonder no one smiles much there! I did enjoy learning about the Shakers. This was a great story and I highly recommend it. I was given a free ecopy of this to read by the publisher, Revell, and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Librarycataloger 25 days ago
This new book by Ann H. Gabhart shares a lot of the history of the Shakers, a religious community that was prominent in Kentucky in the 1800s but best of all, she gives readers a wonderful love story. Yes, there is a hint of a romantic love that might develop but the true love story involves parental love. Much of the plot revolves around the influence that the Sisters and Brothers of the Shaker community have on Darcie Goodwin's and Flynn Keller's commitment to their children. Darcie's love for her unborn baby and her determination to provide for it until she can find a real home after her husband's sudden death exemplifies the ultimate mother/child bond. There is also the love that widower Flynn Keller has for his young daughter. Flynn and his father-in-law are trying to raise Leatrice as she should be raised but this young girl definitely needs a woman's influence in her life. Choosing to join the Shakers may seem to to be answers for both of these parents but Darcie knows that she will never want to become a permanent member of this community; Flynn understands that Leatrice needs supervision but he also rejects the idea of choosing this way of life forever. I really liked Darcie Goodwin and I enjoyed watching the friendship that developed between her and a few of the Sisters. I also liked how the author chose to share all of Darcie's thoughts and readers can see how she grows in confidence and in her faith in God. Flynn Keller is a worthy hero and I found myself hoping that his daughter's need for a mother would somehow lead to a relationship between he and Darcie. The Refuge is a heartwarming story and it proves once again Gabhart's expertise in understanding and explaining the Shakers. Yes, I find it hard to understand their belief in celibacy and their forbiddance of marriage that ultimately led to their extinction but I have to admire their commitment to helping those in need and their "hands to work, hearts to God" motto. *I received a copy of this book from the author and the publisher. These thoughts are mine alone.
academy252 28 days ago
Alone with no family to speak of after the sudden death of her husband, Darcie is living in a Shaker community. She has mixed feelings about their traditions, beliefs and practices as well as her own religious beliefs. She is also pregnant with her first child from her deceased husband which is not looked upon favorable by the Shakers. She finds herself feeling judged for her marriage and pregnancy from some members in the community even though they have shown kindness to her. The Shakers deemed marriage and all that entails sinful. They felt that was not God’s best for His people. They lived in a celibate community as brothers and sisters and were not allowed any romantic involvement. Darcie was struggling with a desire to leave and raise her own child but is repeatedly reminded by community members how much easier her life would be if she would surrender to the community’s practice and give her baby up to the cultural norms of the Shaker faith. Flynn enters the scene a few chapters in. He is a man in the extended community outside the fold of the Shakers who is raising a daughter alone. His wife was killed in a freak accident and he has been left to raise his six year old and care for his ailing father. He is struggling to make ends meet when the local Shaker community begins offering him work and helping him care for his daughter. Both Darcie and Flynn are grieving and alone with children. The Shaker community embraces them with kindness and charity but will they embrace the lifestyle that is offered? Is that what is best for both families? Follow their stories as they seek to know God in a deeper way in this 8th book in The Shaker Series by Ann H. Gabhart.
JLYoung 28 days ago
I came into this book not knowing anything about who the Shakers were. By looking at the cover I assumed they were similar to the Amish. I learned so much reading this book! The wealth of information presented in a loving fictional way was amazing. The author writes with such poise. Beautiful descriptions filled each page. I could see the people, see their lifestyle, see their homes, see everything in my mind while reading this book. The story flowed smoothly and I was drawn into the characters and their stories. By the end of the book I felt like I had been on a time travel journey and had came back missing the people I had met and the places I had visited. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read Ann Gabhart’s work. I am looking forward to reading her other books. I suspect they will be filled with similar lovely writing and stories you just want to devour! I love that this book is written about a time period of history that isn’t totally overused. It’s unique. The amount of research that must have had to happen to write this book is incredible. The author did a marvelous job. I would recommend this book and give it 4 stars. I received a copy of this book from the Revell Blogger program. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
DarkWolf707 28 days ago
Darcie and William are fleeing a cholera epidemic and hope to escape the dreadful disease by taking shelter with the Shakers. When William is killed in an accident, Darcy is left alone in a community that forbids marriage and worse, is now pregnant—a visible sign as to the consequences of the ultimate “sin”. With nowhere to go and little money, she sees no other options left to her other than to stay with the Shakers and hope they have mercy on her. Flynn Keller is still grieving for his wife and struggling to manage his headstrong daughter Leatrice who seems fixed on getting into mischief. After losing his wife because of that same impulsive behavior, he’s determined not to have his daughter killed because of some reckless act on her part. But he needs to give both of them a decent home to stay in and Leatrice needs to learn how to read and write. He doesn’t like it, but the Shakers are looking like the only people he can go to for help. Honestly, the story turned out better than I expected. It was interesting to read about the Shaker community, even if you were left scratching your head as to how they could have accepted some weird thinking. The characters Ann Gabhart introduced us to were solid and real. I liked the Shaker women who befriended Darcy, and it was wonderful to read how the birth and taking care of Darcy’s baby brought them even closer and softened the hearts of even the hardest person. A major point of the story is learning not to worry, to take each day as it comes and trust God to work it out, despite what the circumstances look like. My only quibble is with the romance between the two main characters. I already suspected the author was going to rush it at the end when I reached the three-quarter mark in the book and there was still nothing going on. And then close to the end, a Shazam! is pulled. And you can guess the rest. :P While something more natural would have been preferred, this was still a great story to read and one I recommend if you’re looking for solid characters and writing, with a good plot that will keep you turning the pages. Verdict: Definite buy. (I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)
TheBeccaFiles 29 days ago
One of the amazing things about historical fiction is that it takes the reader to an entirely different place and time and gives them a glimpse of what life may have been like. Instead of discovering history through a textbook, you see it through the eyes of characters, giving it a more real and personal value. I only wish that the author would have shared some of her research in an author's note to help separate some of the truth from fiction in this novel, but it was evident that she had a solid understanding of the ways of the Shakers and it flowed throughout the pages. I have always been intrigued by the Shakers. I grew up a short distance away from a living history museum that allows you to walk through the village and take a peek inside the historical lives of people. There is one home they now have dedicated to teaching about the Shakers. Speaking with some of the reenactors awakened an interest to learn more, and so I knew that after reading the description of this novel it was one I would have to pick up. Not unsurprising, but I read it in a single day. Darcie was an easy character to connect with and continue to build a deeper bond with as the story progressed. Being able to concur with her mindset only made the story come to life more and the pages continue to turn. I devoured every moment of this novel. I'm currently sitting in a book fog wondering why it had to come to an end because I'm not ready to exit their world and return to my own. I highly, highly recommend to historical fiction fans! *I received a copy of this book from Revell. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
AdventurousBookworm 29 days ago
I did not finish this book. I tried really hard to like it and ignore the content, but it was too much for me. There was a madwoman who poisons people, detailed descriptions of childbearing, many discussions with too much detail about marriage. I could not connect with the characters at all. I felt like Darcie was complaining about living the Shaker life for most of the novel and attempting to figure out which Shakers did not like the lifestyle. Honestly, the best part of this novel was Flynn's daughter. She was super sweet and full of energy and hope. We get to see a bit of Shaker life from the view of a seven-year-old child and that is priceless. Due to the content, I will not be reading any more books by this author. Rating: 1 Star Content: 1 Star *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
ARS8 3 months ago
The Refuge was an interesting historical read about a Quaker community and those who lived there and embraced the beliefs and those who sought refuge. Darcie and her husband sought refuge with the Quakers due to a cholera outbreak, hoping to escape the death that had claimed so many of their loved ones. Unfortunately Darcie ends up a pregnant widow in a strange and foreign lifestyle, not really belonging nor is she very happy. This was definitely an eye-opener on many of the strange ways of the Quakers, what they believed about marriage and how they worshiped God. I have read books with Quakers before and I am not sure this was how they all believed or if this sect was especially strict. This was interesting all the same to go deeper into their strange ways. However, they did play an important role in the surrounding communities, kind of like the monasteries of medieval age. They were a source of clean water, food, education, and hospitals when needed to be. This was a heartbreaking read at first and I found it interesting all the reasons one would choose to leave all and join the Quaker community. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
KayleesKindofWrites 3 months ago
My Review: Genre: Bologna. My Rating: 1 star. My Recommendation: None. My Favorite Character/s: Me. I’m my favorite character because I stuck with it and finished this book. My Verse for Me is Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. (King James Version.) (Yes, I erred in requesting this book.) My Thoughts: I really only have the ability to do my thoughts right now because I’m in shock at the oddness of this book and the Shaker cult, (I researched it, in 2017 there were only 2 Shakers left in America, no wonder since it’s illegal for ‘religions’ to adopt and the Shakers are against the whole marriage thing of course since not everyone follows ‘the one path’ to live right there are plenty of people to convert to Shakerisam. *insert eyeroll and heavy heavy dose of sarcasm*) anyway, since this book is the oddest in history I really have no idea what to say other than; I don’t recommend this book. And let’s not forget the whole woman poisoning her husband and getting away with it. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review and am truly happy to provide it — all the thoughts are my own.
millstreetreader 3 months ago
HE REFUGE by Ann H. Gabhart is the first novel I've read set in a Shaker community. When cholera swept the rural area Darcie and Walter Goodwin lived, they decided to flee their small farm and seek shelter in the Shaker village which seemed to be unaffected by the disease. If you know the history and basic beliefs of the Shaker communities, you realize that they lived as brothers and sisters, sharing in all the work and blessings. Marriage was not allowed, and even previously married couples like Darcie and Walter were expected to live separately while with the group. Both Darcie and her husband know they will never be able to fully accept the beliefs of this group and abandon their loving marriage. Then Walter is killed in a freak accident, Darcie finds herself pregnant, and without money or another home, forcing her to continue at Harmony Hill. Meanwhile, Flynn Keller realizes he and his aging father-in-law cannot handle his rambunctious young daughter alone after his wife's death. He knows that others have sent their children to the Shaker village for schooling, but it would mean leaving her there for weeks or months. Can he do that? Will she feel she has been rejected by those who love her most? Ann H. Gabbart's characters are always so well developed. Years after reading, ANGEL SISTER and the other novels that followed in that series, the books remain among my favorites, simply because I remember the characters. Since I am not a huge fan of the Amish/Mennonite style romances, I was not too sure about this novel. But the relationships between the "sisters" of the group was so well drawn that I soon found myself fully drawn into the story. As I finished the book, I realized there are enough loose ends left with minor characters that their stories will shine in future Harmony Hill books. Plus I just realized that this book is book 8 of her Shaker stories, not book one. I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley. All opinions are mine.
vics49548 3 months ago
What an incredible book! Author Ann Gabhart paints a story full of both pain and hope with characters that are incredibly true to life. The plot was very interesting and kept me turning the pages. Gabhart has researched her subject well and that makes a story I couldn’t put down. I was intrigued with learning about the Shaker lifestyle. There is much to learn from them as they cared so well for people and wanted to please God within a strong community. While they had a slanted view of the Bible, I still found it a very compelling read. If you enjoy historical fiction, and enjoy learning about groups of people, then you’ll enjoy The Refuge. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
KrisAnderson_TAR 3 months ago
The Refuge is a well-written novel that proceeds at a gentle pace. I could tell that Ann H. Gabhart has done her research into the Shakers. It was interesting to learn about the Shaker community and their beliefs. I was surprised to learn that the correct name for them is Believers in the Second Coming of Christ. It is outsiders who labeled them Shakers. It is not a religion that would suit every individual especially since men and women are kept separate and not allowed to raise their own children. They did have a strong work ethic and thriving villages. The characters were developed and realistic. I liked that there are characters who have differing viewpoints (those that embrace the Shakers and those that do not) and a variety of ages. I liked the friendships that developed between Darcie and her roommates. Faith is woven into the story making an integral part of The Refuge. The Shakers might have a different ideas, but they believe in God like all Christians. Leatrice was a delight. She was a precocious little girl who lit up the story along with the two babies. The Refuge is not a straightforward romance which I appreciated. There is intrigue, friendships, kittens, childhood drama, faith, a depressed horse, and love. The ending is sweet and heartwarming. There is one phrase from The Refuge I wanted to share. It is “take each day as it comes with the blessings and trials it brings, for the Lord only promises us this day”. The Refuge provides an insightful look into the Shakers and those who sought refuge with them.
KatrinaEpperson 3 months ago
I love books written about Kentucky and this historical immediately swept me back to the fall of 1849 in Harmony Hill. This story centers around Darcie Goodwin who is a young woman that is on a journey of survival. She married her husband Walter 4 years ago, but with the growing threat of cholera in the area they made the decision to live with the Shakers until the threat was over. Their arrival was met with changes they didn't know or hadn't expected. For one the women and men were kept completely separate, so she and Walter were unable to live as husband and wife. She was raised in a christian home, but some of the Shaker beliefs were hard for her to accept. After 3 months of living with the Shakers Walter left one day never to return leaving Darcie a young widow and a baby on the way. I really enjoyed this book!! The plot immediately pulled me in. I enjoyed reading about the Shakers and must admit I was shocked at some of their beliefs. I could tell the author had researched this topic well. The engaging,secondary characters are well integrated into the story. Darcie is both kind and sweet, but she shows a survivor instinct throughout the story. Flynn Keller is a widow and the father of an inquisitive, young daughter. He's not ready to move on with his life in a romantic sense, but he knows he needs to put his daughters needs first. The author adds an artful touch to the story by adding a small mystery into the plot. It was not something I expected, but enjoyed because it enriched the story. This captivating story has elements of faith, second chances, quirky characters, romantic tension, and love. This is a book I would recommend to anyone. **I received this book from the publisher as part of their book bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Cheryl Koch 3 months ago
I have read several books by this author. One of the things I like about this author and her books is the Amish lifestyle that some of the books are focused around. Thus the reason that I wanted to read this book. Darcie was fine. In fact, she is probably the one I enjoyed the most. The location is also another good aspect about this book. Yet, everything else did not impress me. The other characters as well as the storyline. I struggled right away to find my footing with this book. It moved slowly and it was made only worse by the fact that I was not connecting with the other characters. My reading style with this book was more of a skimming method. While, I was not such a fan of this book, I would read another one by this author.
LittleMissBookworm 3 months ago
Title: The Refuge Author: Ann H. Gabhart Genre: Christian Historical Fiction Publisher: Revell Publishing Publication date: April 30, 2019 Page #: 400 Star rating: 4 out of 5. Back Cover Copy: “When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family? Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family” My Review: In The Refuge you are introduced to two characters, Darcie and Flynn. Darcie came to the Shaker Village with her husband Walter to find a safe haven from the Cholera epidemic. When Darcie finds herself pregnant and alone, she’s faced with an uncertain future. Widower Flynn longs for stability for he and his daughter. Is it possible that these two could find love in a celebite community? I really enjoyed the book, and thought that Ms. Gabhart did a wonderful job in giving the reader a small history lesson about the beliefs of the Shakers and how their community works. The story is intertwined with the history of the Shakers, so you learn something as you find out more about the characters pitfalls and triumphs. I recommend the book, and really enjoyed all the little unexpected surprises in the story. I received this book from Revell Books for their online book tour. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
tealovingbookworm 3 months ago
Ann Gabhart has again woven a tantalizing tale of the sometimes mind-boggling Shakers and their lives in the secluded village of Harmony Hill. Using heart-warming characters, she depicts the hardships and sometimes tough decisions that some were forced to endure in the 1850’s era. “Hands to work and hearts to God” is the motto the Shakers lived by, where all are sisters and brothers, and all are expected to work. The story is about a young woman, Darcie, who feels like the Shakers are her last resort after sudden widowhood and finding herself pregnant. The Shakers openly and lovingly cared for her, even though she didn’t fully embrace the belief system. We follow her journey from loneliness to love. This is a book you won’t want to put down, and one I highly recommend. It’s in the running for one of my favorites! I received a copy from Revell Publishing and through NetGalley and was under no obligation to give a positive review. All views are my own.
amybooksy 3 months ago
The Refuge is a great read. I loved this historical involving The Shaker Village of Harmony Hill. I was heartbroken for Darcie when she lost her husband. Especially, when she was learning of her expecting a little one. When I was introduced to Flynn and his daughter, Leatrice, I instantly loved them both. Leatrice is such a cute and smart little girl. So sad she lost her mother at such an early age. When Flynn fears for her life, he turns to the Shakers for help. I give The Refuge a very well deserved five plus stars. This is overall a beautiful story of forgiveness, second chances, faith and hope. Highly recommended! I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
Belovedbrat 3 months ago
Title: The Refuge Author: Ann H Gabhart Chapters: 35 plus epilogue Pages: 400 Genre: Christian Historical fiction Rating: 4 stars The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart is not my first by her, but it is my first Shaker book that I’ve read. Darcie and her husband end up at Harmony Hill the fictional Shaker village in Kentucky to ride out a Cholera epidemic when he’s killed in an accident. Leaving Darcie widowed and pregnant something that the Shaker’s don’t really know how to deal with. When she meets widower Flynn Keller and his daughter. I’m not going to lie I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I don’t read Amish fiction and for some reason that’s how I was viewing fiction books about the Shakers the same way. I was surprised but in a good way. Ann gave her characters in this book the same depth that she gives all her characters. Even though Harmony Hill is a fictional Shaker village it was easy to picture how it was set up because I’ve been to both Shaker villages in Kentucky. And I have a feeling that Ann based Harmony Hill on the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in central Kentucky. Ann brings life to her historical novels as well as the Kentucky setting, all of her books I’ve read have been set in Kentucky and I love that. My favorite character in the book wasn’t Darcie or Flynn instead it was Flynn’s young daughter whose headstrong nature reminded me a bit of myself at that age. To me she makes the whole book. The Refuge is a book about leaving to trust God and his timing not our timing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction. As well as readers who like to read fictional stories based on real historic places. I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Review by Paula Shreckhise The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart is a stand alone novel about the Shakers in the 1850’s. Reading a novel by Ann Gabhart is like sitting and talking to a treasured friend. I love the quiet way her words creep into my soul. I knew next to nothing about the Shakers except that I have long admired the simple lines of their furniture. Ms. Gabhart has opened my eyes to the often strange customs of the Shakers. I learned the reasons behind some of their actions and attitudes. The Shaker community of Harmony Hill seems quiet and orderly, but trouble can come to any place. When Darcie Goodwin seeks refuge from cholera with her husband, Walter, she never thinks she would be there forever. She is given no choice but to stay at Harmony Hill when he tragically dies. She is obedient to the strange rules but has no real desire to stay there permanently. She prays God would direct her steps. What does God have in store for Darcie? The characters in this book are truly living out their faith however diverse they may be. This is a beautifully written story. Listen to the words of Silas Cox: “ Home.That’s a fine word, but I’ve been wondering lately if home maybe has more to do with the people you love than with a place.” Ann Gabhart’s writing always calms me and causes me to ponder lots of things. To me that is a sign of a great writer. I have been a fan since I first read one of her books. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was under no obligation to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* Paula Shreckhise
Anonymous 3 months ago
Review by Paula Shreckhise The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart is a stand alone novel about the Shakers in the 1850’s. Reading a novel by Ann Gabhart is like sitting and talking to a treasured friend. I love the quiet way her words creep into my soul. I knew next to nothing about the Shakers except that I have long admired the simple lines of their furniture. Ms. Gabhart has opened my eyes to the often strange customs of the Shakers. I learned the reasons behind some of their actions and attitudes. The Shaker community of Harmony Hill seems quiet and orderly, but trouble can come to any place. When Darcie Goodwin seeks refuge from cholera with her husband, Walter, she never thinks she would be there forever. She is given no choice but to stay at Harmony Hill when he tragically dies. She is obedient to the strange rules but has no real desire to stay there permanently. She prays God would direct her steps. What does God have in store for Darcie? The characters in this book are truly living out their faith however diverse they may be. This is a beautifully written story. Listen to the words of Silas Cox: “ Home.That’s a fine word, but I’ve been wondering lately if home maybe has more to do with the people you love than with a place.” Ann Gabhart’s writing always calms me and causes me to ponder lots of things. To me that is a sign of a great writer. I have been a fan since I first read one of her books. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was under no obligation to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* Paula Shreckhise
Mgt_Nelson_12 3 months ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. The pace is relaxed – it didn't leave me exhausted with my stomach in knots as some other books have done recently. It still moves fast enough that I didn't lose interest in the story. The characters are well-drawn, so that even if some had attitudes and traits I didn't like, I still could understand why they acted the way they did. The description of life in a Shaker village is treated with respect, and yet with honesty that shows some of the problems outsiders encountered. The spiritual content is also handled well, with characters learning and growing in their relationship with the Lord. I received a free review copy from the author; all opinions are my own.
GrandaddyA 3 months ago
I enjoyed the way Ann Gabhart alternately shared the stories of Flynn Keller, a widower with a young daughter, and Sister Darcie, a widow expecting her first baby while living with the Shakers. Both of their lives had been tossed upside down by different tragedies, including cholera, a fall off a horse, and a riverboat explosion. Flynn’s father-in-law, Silas, was one of my favorite characters. I forgot his exact words for describing himself but I would call him a loose cannon. Although he had some good ideas, some of his worst ones involved his attempts to provide a woman to take care of his granddaughter, as well as to find someone who could cook better than him and Flynn. Sister Darcie and her husband had gone to Harmony Hill to avoid the risk of cholera, but his death on a riverboat before she could tell him they were having a baby threw her for a loop. The descriptions of life in the Shaker village were quite interesting. I would have had a very difficult time accepting their beliefs, but some of their ways, such as never turning anyone away hungry, were quite admirable. After Sister Darcie gave birth to her daughter, she could not imagine staying at Harmony Hill where her baby girl would get moved to the Children’s House to be raised by other sisters, and they would be considered sisters rather than mother and daughter. You should read the book to see if Silas ever finds the right solution, and if Sister Darcie is able to keep her baby girl. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.
Mauri 3 months ago
Darcie and her husband Walter take refuge at Harmony Hill, a Shaker village, to avoid a cholera epidemic. For some reason, cholera didn't seem to strike there. Though Darcie and Walter didn't embrace the Shaker beliefs, they did have to follow the rules, which required them to live apart. Marriage was considered sinful to the Shakers. An experienced riverman, Walter went with some of the Shaker men on a trip and was killed when the boat boilers exploded. Though their stay at Harmony Hill was meant to be temporary, Darcie has no where else to go, especially after she discovers she is pregnant. She appreciates the shelter and companionship of the "sisters" she lives and works with, but doesn't agree with many of the Shaker beliefs, especially the ones that dictate children live separately from their parents, and husbands from wives. She befriended a young girl, Leatrice, who was also there temporarily for school and began to look forward to seeing Flynn, the girl's father, when he visited. I had sympathy for Darcie and her situation and for a couple of her "sisters" who also did not embrace the Shaker beliefs. Darcie had to learn to trust God to make a way for her. I enjoyed the rhythm of the story that alternated between Darcie's first person and third person from the perspective of Flynn or Leatrice. Ann H. Gabhart is such a talented storyteller. Her books are a delight to read. I did receive a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.
Kakinn 4 months ago
Although I thought the plot got a little slow and boring at times, it was kind of interesting to learn about a group of people, the Shakers, that I had never heard of before reading The Refuge. I did like how, even though the whole book was about a Shaker village, they weren't portrayed as these God-fearing Christians, like how, for example, the Amish are normally described in most Christian fiction books while, in reality, the majority are not and are being led astray in their desire for a better life. However, the main characters, Darcie and Flynn, are actually Christians, and in this book we see the Shakers through their eyes. The main theme of The Refuge is the importance of and God's design for marriage, even though the Shakers prohibit it. In conclusion, this was a good book and perfect if you just want to sit down and read a sweet story!
honeychile 4 months ago
What an intriguing read! I was fascinated to learn about the kind-but-cultish Shakers, and author Gabhart did a masterful job placing her main character Darcie among them, taking refuge with her husband after a cholera outbreak. Unexpected tragedy strikes and Darcie finds herself alone and pregnant among people who believe that sex is sinful even within the constraints of marriage. It would have been easy to make the Shaker community a dark place, but Gabhart reveals her consummate writing and plotting skill as she paints a captivating picture of the Shaker world, revealing both their strengths and their faults. I especially admired the way Gabhart created individual and genuine Shaker characters, some of whom did not totally embrace the Shaker way of life and others who did. Giving Darcie a way out of her situation was something I certainly saw coming, but was delighted to wait for it to unfold. Gabhart also chose to make Christian faith an important part of the novel, and I was thrilled to read about elders in the lives of both Darcie and her love-interest who planted and watered the seeds of growing Christian faith. Adversity drew these characters into active faith and the lessons they learned were not forgotten. Another theme in the book is taking in those in need, something that Darcie experienced herself and later came to emulate. Five solid stars on this fine novel from me!