07 July 2012

The Gifted by Ann Gabhart, Book review

 Publisher: Revell
 ISBN-13: 978-0800734558


By 1849, Jessamine Brady has been in the Shaker Village for half her life, but in spite of how she loves her sisters there, she struggles to conform to the strict rules. Instead she entertains dreams of the world outside. When Tristan Cooper seems to step out of those dreams to entice her into the forbidden realm beyond the Shaker Village, her life turns upside down. Will Jessamine be able to survive the storms of the world? Or will she retreat back to the peace of Harmony Hill?

My thoughts:

As someone who knew absolutely nothing of the Shaker beliefs I have now a whole concept of their intricate history. In 'The Gifted' Kentucky born storyteller Ann H. Gabhart has definitively written an in depth story based on this cult! She actually lives near a Shaker village and was obviously inspired.

The simplicity of the many designs we admire to this date were brought upon by these believers who worked as if they had a thousand years to accomplish their tasks or knowledge of their death on the morrow...They knew their place, rejoiced in knowing it, their hands hard at work, their hearts given to God...

In 'The Gifted' our protagonist Jessamine is striving to find her place in this close knit world and when she is given a sweet outlook on the outside world questions her path...
We follow the young sister as she stumbles repeatedly despite her eagerness to please her elders. Sister Sophrena's diaries in particular allows us to understand the extant of those struggles and gives us a unique view of life in their community.
Harmony Hill village brothers and sisters live their faith as outlined by their leader, Mother Ann, from the working fields to the devotion meetings including the shaking and dancing. Their only contact with the outside world is due to their trading their wares such as rosewater, baskets, candles, furniture and so on.
Surprisingly, their fellowship is open to anyone, even outsiders just visiting. It is the only world Jessamine has  known since she lost her Granny but like all good stories, this is only the beginning... Then there is also a mysterious letter which opened reveals surprising new developments...

As usual Ann H.Gabhart leads us by the hand as we read on. I always found myself looking for clues to what comes next and I was not disappointed.
Richly described and perfectly timed, this is a story you will enjoy discovering as the author entices you to learn that all is not as it seems.
Like all good storytellers, Ann H. Gabhart tells you some dreams were meant to come true...You just have to believe!

4 stars!

About the Author:

'Ann H. Gabhart started writing when she was ten and has been writing ever since. Her first published writings were personal experience pieces, youth stories, and poems in church periodicals such as HomeLife. 
Her first novel, a historical romance about the settling of Kentucky, was published by Warner Books in 1978. Since then, she's published numerous books for both adults and young adults. 
The Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books in Christian Fiction in 2006 by Booklist magazine. 
Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for Christian Fiction Book of the Year in 2009 and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine.'

For more on this Christian storyteller, visit her website (here) and blog (here)

I received this book free from BAKER/REVELL as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.


  1. Sounds good! Lovely cover as well.

  2. This sounds an interesting book. A few months ago there was a series on Channel 4 here in the UK about a group of English teenagers who went to stay with some Shaker families (some Shaker teenagers had already visited the UK i think, so a sort of exchange visit)and adopted their way of dress and behaviour and work ethics for the time they stayed. It was fascinating! If you get the chance to see the series it is well worth it, I'm sorry I cannot remember what it was called but it was earlier this year.
    Thanks for taking the time to share this review.
    Gill xx


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