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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.
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.
MaureenTSyracuse NYGender: female5 Stars Out Of 5End of WWIINovember 20, 2017MaureenTSyracuse NYGender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0I really found myself rooting for young Francine Howard as she began her new career as a baby catcher, or midwife, in the mountains of Kentucky.
The author made those mountains so alive with word pictures that I found myself crossing the creeks, and going over the rocks. Such a great story, with the end WWII we are with the veterans and those left behind. Most of all we meet the mountain people and you will really fall in love with some of these unforgettable individuals.
Will our girl end up loosing her heart to these people and maybe someone else, or will her mother get her way and she will go back home to Cincinnati? How about our young soldier and the responsibilities that are now placed on him, will he take advantage of the GI bill, or stay and help family?
I really enjoyed this story, and made me want to move and live here, but that grass usually looks greener on the other side.
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
VictoriaCanadaAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5These Healing HillsNovember 14, 2017VictoriaCanadaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Historical fiction, WWII era, frontier nurses. Check, check, check. I knew with all of these elements, the odds of my enjoying These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart was fairly high. What I didn't realize is what a gem I'd find in this new to me author and the Appalachian Mountains she wove into life.
One review on the back cover calls this a "beautifully crafted story" and that is a wonderful description of what Gabhart has achieved. Gabhart has used her research to invite readers into a small section of mountain life in 1945.
As anyone who's poked around here before knows, I need a good character to connect with a story and Gabhart provides a mountain full. The Locke family are real, I love how Gabhart has captured the dynamics of life on the mountain among such a diverse family of characters who are relearning how to be in the same space after so many changes. Equally captivating is Francine, our intrepid nurse. Again, I really came to appreciate Gabhart's attention to detail in her characters. Fran's wrestling with her insecurities were well established and her confusion about how to proceed in life feels relatable.
Oh, and can we talk about the amazing Granny Em? What a character, I love how Gabhart showed the transition of eras with Granny Em's wisdom and knowledge of the old ways. Honestly, I would be crushed if this book found a sequel without Granny Em's ever present wisdom.
Stylistically, I found Gabhart to have a blend that was quick to draw me in as a reader and hold my attention. Using actual historical records to base her frontier nurses on lent interest and credibility for the geek in me, but the earnestness with which she conveyed the humour, hardworking nature, and love of the mountains inherent to her characters lent a richness to the novel that made me wish I was doing rounds with Fran (although I can guarantee we'd still need Ben or Woody to rescue us from our own sense of direction).
Fans of historical fiction will probably not find any major surprises in the overall plotlines, whether it's Fran's coming into her own, Ben's readjustment to life post-war, or Woody's brink of manhood adventures and yet the charm of this book and it's characters draws me like the mountains draw in Fran.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."