Title: The Innocent (A Harmony Hill Novel)
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
My rating is 5+ out of 5 stars!
I so thoroughly enjoy reading the tales woven by Ann Gabhart, and this one is no exception! While the cover gives a hint of a Shaker story inside, it doesn’t reveal the depth of mystery or the faith themes inside. The tale takes place after the War Between the States, right at the end in fact, when many women were waiting to see if their husbands, brothers, etc... would be coming home. Life was precarious and dependent upon the men providing for the family or extended members who needed daily sustenance and protection.
Here is a woman named Carlyn who strove to stay true to her marriage vows until she knew for sure whether her husband was dead or not. Many in the town already assumed she was a widow since it had been two years since her husband left. The owner of a house was a man with few scruples and unless Carlyn gave him herself she was going to be homeless. So Carlyn seeks the local Shaker village until she knows what happened with her husband so that she has food, protection and time to sort out what her next season in life would be.
However, there are things happening at the Shaker village that are being blamed on Carlyn. The sheriff is taken with Carlyn, but knows he has to wait until she finds out what happened to her husband before pursuing her. He agrees to care for her dog as she can’t keep him at the village. Throughout the story I learned things about the Shakers, which frankly were quite odd. Some of the beliefs I learned some time ago through my husband’s aunt who once worked at a Shaker village as a guide.
The characters are colorful, the setting enticing and the story captivating from beginning to end. I loved how truthful Carlyn was in what she was or was not willing to do while in the Shaker home. Carlyn remembers a lot of what her mother taught her from the Scriptures, which encourages us all to teach the Word though we may never know when it will bear fruit in a person’s life. The tale of a Shaker and sheriff having a budding romance is ingenious. I loved too how though the war caused some rocky moments in the faith of a couple of characters they eventually returned to faith of their childhood, but it wasn’t without some work.
The novel is a stand alone for those wondering if it is part of a series. I highly recommend the novel as it reminds us of a time when daily living was hard and work was a matter of survival. Faith and prayer are lifelines for those who believe in Jesus and we would be remiss to so easily dismiss them. Grab a copy and enjoy the tale that stirs the heart, grabs the soul and captures the imagination of the reader!
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