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Francine Howard’s marriage plans fall apart when the soldier wrote her to tell her he had fallen in love with someone else. She was devastated and jumps at the chance to train as midwife in the Frontier Nursing Service in the Appalachian Mountains. The mountain views and mountain people touch her heart. After many years in the army, Ben Locke is eager to return to the fresh mountain air of his home in the Appalachian Mountains. Once home, he meets Francine and the life he thought he wanted, is no longer.
Number of Pages: 368
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he's at a loss when it comes to envisioning what's next for his life.
When Francine's and Ben's paths intersect, it's immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.
Karen LangeKentuckyAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Enjoyed this StoryJanuary 27, 2018Karen LangeKentuckyAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This story had me staying up way too late to finish chapters! But I'd say that means Ann Gabhart wrote another good, engaging story. I enjoyed reading about and learning the history of the Frontier Nursing Service. I also enjoyed getting to know the characters, Francine, a "city girl" and Ben, the "country boy". The secondary characters were fun too, and added much, from Woody and Sadie to Granny Em and Betty. In addition to being rich in history, this book reflects some of the struggles we all face at times - decisions, choices, and following our heart. I give it two thumbs up! I'd enjoy seeing another book that continues Francine's and Ben's story.
CozyWriter'sDen5 Stars Out Of 5ExcellentJanuary 20, 2018CozyWriter'sDenQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I am a fan of Ann H. Gabhart's new mystery series as well as her book "Words Spoken True". I haven't yet read any of her earlier works. However, after completing "These Healing Hills" I am certainly going to go back and read the rest of her published novels. "These Healing Hills" was a beautiful example of a gifted writer going the extra mile to not only create believable and lovable characters but to bring to life an era and a subset of people that I would have never know anything about before. I can not imagine how much time Ann Gabhart spent researching this novel. What an exhaustive effort... but completely worth it.
The details in this work made the story come alive. I loved the unique phrasing and way of saying things that the Appalachian mountain people used in their every-day-talk. I enjoyed learning about Sourgum making, their tough way of life, the mountains, and especially about the frontier nurses/midwives that served the mountains on horseback. From a history standpoint, this was such an amazing story. I am glad an author as skilled as Ann H Gabhart was the one to take on this particular piece of American history. This story deserved an amazing retelling.
As far as the characters went, I loved Francine, Woody, Granny Em, Ben Locke... the whole crew just brought the story to life. They were all so unique and I loved watching them change and grow throughout the story. Francine's transformation from a wounded city girl on the run to a confident nurse/midwife in love with the Appalachian mountains and its people was really enjoyable to read. Also, the gentle love story between Francine and Ben was so sweet it made me cry. I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it.
Britney Adams5 Stars Out Of 5A wonderful story!January 5, 2018Britney AdamsQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0These Healing Hills is a wonderful story! I adore historical fiction and delighted in learning about mountain midwifery and the Frontier Nursing Service. Gabhart does a tremendous job of bringing the time period and setting to life with vivid imagery as readers explore the Appalachian Mountains with Francine and Ben. I loved their tender romance and the sage words of wisdom found within their story! These Healing Hills is a beautifully told tale and a recommended read for those who enjoy historical romance.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
Vickie5 Stars Out Of 5Another excellent book from Ann Gabhart!January 4, 2018VickieQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Francine Howard had a good relationship with her father before he died but love her mohter as she might. she found her mother hard to please. She was too tall and too plain. Her mother discouraged her from marrying her boyfriend Seth before he went off to fight in WWII, so when she would write to him she poured out her dreams for a family with him after the war. She trained as a nurse while waiting. Her mother remarried. Then Seth's sister shows her a picture of the pretty and petite English woman Seth plans to marry before she receives a letter from Seth telling her of his new plans for his future. Hurt and wanting to get away from Cincinnati, Francis takes a position with the Frontier Nursing Service to train as a nurse midwife and work in the rural Appalachian mountains of Leslie County, Kentucky. Upon arrival by bus she first hears the term of brought-in woman as the nurses are called by the locals who are leery of outsiders who tend to look down on them and their "hillbilly" ways. No one is there to meet her so she is told to follow a local man up a path that is "plain as day" to the hospital. He does not wait for her and she comes to a split in the path. Luckily for her, a friendly 15 year old, Woody Locke, comes to her rescue, taking her suitcase and showing her the way while keeping up a steady stream of chatter.
Fran falls in love with the mountains but has a tendency to lose her way, a fact the mountain gossip line spreads quickly. She enjoys the local people even while being told not to befriend them by other nurses. Some of the other nurses look down on all the local "grannies" remedies but Fran keeps an open mind about the ones that work and tossing aside the things based on superstition. Her mother writes asking her to come home, away from those hillbillies. Fran is enjoying her independence, riding her horse Jasmine to make home visits and has no desire to leave.
Ben Locke was a medic in the Army, fighting in Europe. He makes it safely through the war only to have his arm broken by a large private who Ben tries to calm during a flashback. He longs for home even while not knowing what he should do now. His father died while he was serving and his younger brother Woody, his young sister Sadie and his mother have just been able to get by on their farm. Ben knows he will come home to find much to do on the farm. The GI bill will help him go back to school but he doesn't know what he wants to do.
On the path home Ben finds Jasmine running down the mountain without a rider. He recognizes the saddlebags as belonging to a Frontier Nurse. and soon finds a lost Fran who was thrown as a rattlesnake startled Jasmine. As they continue to see each other when Fran checks on Sadie, then his pregnant sister Becca, an attraction they both fight is stirred up. Can an outsider be at home in the hills?
I hope that Ann Gabhart will write more on the Locke family as she did with the Merritt family in previous books. I was not ready for the story to end!
hplady5 Stars Out Of 5Healing and Hope Come TogetherDecember 23, 2017hpladyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5These Healing Hills
By Ann Gabhart
I was very excited when I saw that Ann Gabhart had a new book for us! I love reading her stories and always walk away from them feeling like I am closer to God. This book was just as good as the rest. In this story of healing and finding grace in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, Gabhart draws us into the story of two people who are searching for hope and find each other.
Francine Howard is happily awaiting the end of the war and planning her marriage to Seth, her high school sweetheart, when she finds out he met someone new overseas. He calls things off and intends to bring his new girlfriend back to the states with him. Francine is devastated and, rather than stay and face the pitying looks on all the faces of the people she has always known, she decides to head to the mountains and train to be a midwife and "catch babies".
Ben Locke is happy to find his way home to the mountains after a war that will leave him changed forever. He wants nothing more than to find his place at his mom's table and be home again. Unfortunately, home has changed during his absence. His pa passed, his baby brother and sisters have grown up, and his mom has dealt with a hard world. Ben has changed also; war has a way of doing that to a man.
When Ben and Francine meet in the mountains during a storm, each must set aside their preconceived notions and assist the other. From that moment on, they seem to be drawn to each other. They consistently fight their attraction even as it grows between them. When life continually presses them together, will they finally realize that they can offer each other the healing and hope they need?
I loved this story. It told of grace, compassion, and love; both for each other and the love the Lord has for us. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received a free copy of this story for my honest review from NetGalley. All opinions in it are my own.