Book Review ~ Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story by Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart
Contemporary Fiction/Christmas

About the book:

It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband's army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation-deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, where her great aunt Sophrena lives. There, after many peaceful years at Harmony Hill, Sophrena is having doubts about her Shaker path. Both women are in need of love and forgiveness-whether given or received. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?

My thoughts:

The Shakers have long been of interest to me. Their furniture inspirations are beautiful but their actions are odd. In this Christmas novel about the Shaker settlement of Harmony Hill, Ann Gabhart allows us a peek into the traditions and doctrines that go along with the Shaker movement.

We are transported to Harmony Hill when Gideon sends his very pregnant wife home from the battlefield during the Civil War. Heather thinks she'll be going home to have her baby with the help of her momma. Once she makes it there she finds that circumstances have changed and she leaves to seek refuge with her Aunt Sophrena at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill.

Unbeknownst to Gideon and Heather they are both going to be brought through the valley of the shadow of death. Providence brings people alongside them to help them through their trials. Their lives will never be the same nor will the lives around them.

I enjoyed reading about how the hand of God is at work in situations long before those situations come about. Ms. Gabhart doesn't gloss over the flaws with the Shaker movement, nor does she bash their ways. I appreciated learning more about the movement while being entertained by a heartwarming Christmas story.

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