Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers-a religious group that does not allow marriage-she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear. With the country-and her own household-on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road of unforeseen consequences. Ann H. Gabhart brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry, the simple Shakers, and the ravages of war in 1860s Kentucky to weave a touching story of love, freedom, and forgiveness.
My review: As an avid fan of historical fiction, I absolutely LOVED this book. It was hard to put down. I was transported to another time and place from the first page, through the well-crafted story, historical details and captivating characters. One could not help but walk in the heroine's shoes as she faced tough challenges and was forced to make difficult decisions. I love to read anything relating to the civil war, whether fiction or non-fiction, and in this book, Ann Gabhart does a superb job of weaving together details of the war with human emotions. She gives a face to the war, so it becomes much more than dates and battles. Many factual details are included via correspondence between Charlotte Vance and Adam Wade, the young artist who has come across Charlotte's path. The story also details the life of a Shaker village, which was new to me. It is evident that the author has done very careful research. She lives in Kentucky, just 30 minutes from a restored Shaker village, giving opportunity to walk where the Shakers walked. This lends authenticity to this story, as well as to her previous Shaker books, The Outsider and The Believer. Thanks, Ann, for a great story, one which will stick in my memory. I highly recommend wonderful this book.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".