I really enjoyed this informative and compelling novel about the Shakers, whom I knew very little about. I did not know they don't date or marry the opposite sex; they separate men, women and children; I wonder how they grow their faith when there is no procreation! I knew they lived a simple life but the extent that they go to to be simple is baffling! I liked the main character, Heather, who arrives to live with the Shakers in a "sinful" condition. She chose to learn the good things from the Shakers that would enrich her life and to reject the things she felt were devisive. I appreciated the author's development of Heather's complicated family relationships with her husband, father, siblings and aunt. This novel deals with deep hatred, forgiveness, unconditional love, and unbelieveable stress.
Marry the man your Father despised, get kicked out o f your family home, follow your new husband into the Civil War, become the washerwoman for a couple hundred smelly foot soliders , hide your pregnancy to stay , walk a good ways home.Heather Worth faces more than that. She follows her Mothers advice in the last letter shes received, and seeks sanctuary with an unknown Aunt. A Shaker, secluded from the World, and the ways of procreation, this barely 18 year old arrives before Christmas, cold, exhausted, worried about her Husband, and ready to give birth without a Midwife or Mom.
If any of this sounds familiar, read this book. A beautiful ending on several levels. Love is thicker than blood, bad blood, and bloodshed. Amusing, touching, thoughtful, historically accurate, one of the best probable stories in a long while. Inspired by a visit to a historical site.
Very enjoyable read! I was fascinated with Gideon and Heather's tender, yet very strong love that was read to withstand all and sacrifice even more. Have you met that person in life that is absolutely everything for you and an answer to all your prayers?
I felt for Heather's father, who was so battled by death and inside war as well as the one outside. the pain of losing your child is liable to rip you in pieces and harden your heart harder than steel.im glad God touches his heart and heals his grave pain.
What really made me mad was the Shaker religion. While I was fascinated with the peacefulness they possessed, I was shocked that someone would get themselves into a religion ( more like sect ) invented by a woman who simply lost four children. my grandmother lost five babies each right after birth. I'm not saying it was easy, but neither did she invent a religion. she clung to God, who commended us to have children; God who has engineered us with feelings and passion and love, and to her husband. after those five dear children, grandma had another five that are still alive, and instead of being bitter or delusional with pain, my grandparents were the happiest sweetest couple I've known, just as in love in their eighty's as they were as newlyweds. so much like Gideon and Heather. I realize these villages were a great escape for unhappy marriages and grieving widowers, but still I believe that we shouldn't look for heaven on earth but instead put our burdens on God and find escape in the only One who can truly give it.
Readers I hope this book instead of misguiding your belief in God Almighty will show you that God loves you and walks with you through the valley of shadow and death and has the greatest plan yet for your future.
Disclaimer: I have received a free copy of this book from Publisher through NetGally, in exchange for my honest opinion.
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.