Paperback: 404 pages
Publisher: Revell; Original edition (July 1, 2011)
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From the Back Cover:
Trapped by obligation, one woman longs for the freedom of true love.
It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such relationships are forbidden.
Can Lacey ever find true happiness in this mysterious place?
My take on this book:
Lacey Bishop has been living with Preacher Palmer and his wife since she was thirteen. Her father brought her to them so that she could help take care of the preachers sickly wife Miss Mona, while staying there a baby who they named Rachel was dropped on the preachers doorstep and Miss Mona and Lacey had raised her as their own. When Miss Mona dies the community thinks its improper for a twenty one year old girl to live under the same roof as the preacher. The preacher who is much older than Lacey decides they should marry and Lacey does what she has to do to continue to take care of Rachel. When the preacher decides they need to move to the Shaker village Lacey doesn't want to go but the preacher tells her he will take Rachel regardless forcing Lacey to go along. Once in the village she feels drawn to a Shaker man but relationships are forbidden. Will she ever find peace and happiness living the Shaker way of life?
Isaac Kingston's dreams of settling out west are shattered when his wife dies. His wife's parents blame him for their daughters death and vow to make his life miserable. Without food or a place to stay a kind Shaker man invites him to their village. Isaac doesn't really believe the way the Shakers do but he stays because he really has no place else to go. When he meets Lacey he feels drawn to her but he knows she is married to the preacher.
I normally read about the Amish so I was delighted to read a bit about the Shakers. The great thing about reading historical fiction is the fact that the author often weaves a history lesson into the story and with this book we certainly get a look at the Shaker lifestyle during the mid 1800's. I really thought the characters were compelling, and Lacey was someone that I found quite believable. I could easily understand how she made the choices she did so that she could take care of Rachel.
Even though this book is part of a Shaker series that the author is writing, it can easily be read as a stand alone work, I haven't read any of the other books but had no problems jumping right into this one. I enjoyed this book so much I have already downloaded the other three books in the Shaker series and look forward to reading them.
If you enjoy reading historical fiction that will give you a bit on insight into the Shaker way of life then you really should check out Ann Gabhart's Shaker series.
Ann H. Gabhart started writing when she was ten and has been writing ever since. Her first published writings were personal experience pieces, youth stories, and poems in church periodicals such as HomeLife. Her first novel, a historical romance about the settling of Kentucky, was published by Warner Books in 1978. Since then, she's published numerous books for both adults and young adults. The Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books in Christian Fiction in 2006 by Booklist magazine. Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for Christian Fiction Book of the Year in 2009 and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine.
Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband, Darrell, a bass singer in the Patriot Quartet, have three children and nine grandchildren. Her website is www.annhgabhart.com.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
"Available July 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,a division of Baker Publishing Group."