Monday, July 26, 2010
Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers--a religious group that does not marry--she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear.
With the country--and her own household--on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road toward unforeseen peace--and a very unexpected love.
The setting is the early years of the Civil War. Charlotte Vance's new stepmother does all she can to force Charlotte out of her home. After her fiance's desertion and with the threat of the servants she loves being sold off, Charlotte decides that leaving Grayson plantation is her only choice. She and her slave Mellie join the Shakers, as Charlotte wants a place to hide and a way to convince Edwin that he should marry her. When Adam Wade, illustrator for Harper's Weekly reenters her life, she must search within herself to find out where her true conviction lies.
I loved the historical aspect of this novel. The Shakers abhorred violence of any kind and wouldn't take up arms, but did feed and help all manner of soldiers who passed through their village. Ann Gabhart did a fantastic job of interweaving the Civil War into the story, while making Charlotte's story center. The letters between Charlotte and Adam were terrific.
Before reading Ann Gabhart's book The Believer, I was not familiar with the Shaker religion at all. I found it fascinating. I don't understand the conviction of those who chose that lifestyle, but I do admire their faith and diligence in living it. Like The Believer, this novel also explores the idea of following one's heart and learning for yourself the path God wants you to take.
Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler from the Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book. You can find out more about Ann H. Gabhart here. You can purchase the book here.
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