The Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart {Historical Romance Review}

The Innocent by Ann Gabhart

Book review disclosure.

Historical Romance


Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. When the war ends without further word, Carlyn finds herself penniless, in debt, and forced from her home. With nowhere else to go, she seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill.

The Shakers profess peace through simple living, but to Carlyn, the Shaker life seems anything but simple. When mysterious deaths disturb the peace of the village, Carlyn falls under intense scrutiny. Can a kind sheriff help her expose the true culprit?

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart invites fans back to Harmony Hill for a story laced with intrigue, romance, and heart.


My Thoughts

Prepare to have your heart broken for the awful situation that Carlyn Kearney finds herself in. Her beloved husband went off to fight in the Civil War. The war has since ended and the men have come home, except for her husband. He's considered missing and presumed dead. But with no definitive word on his condition Carlyn is left in a state of limbo. 

Meanwhile the mortgage is due on her home and she has no way to pay it. Her only alternative seems to be to join the Shakers at Harmony Hill. While she doesn't adhere to their odd beliefs she knows she'll have food and shelter and be relatively safe until her husband comes home. Much to her dismay several very treacherous events happen that leave the whole village unsettled.

I have enjoyed several of Gabhart's Harmony Hill novels and this one is no exception. I appreciate the peek into the mysterious Shaker community. The author does a wonderful job of presenting the beliefs of these people without pandering to them. What they believe is strange and she makes no bones about it. 

Carlyn Kearney is forced to face the worst nightmare of any married woman. When do you give up hope? When is it okay to move on? I loved Carlyn's faith in the Providence of God. She didn't always understand what was happening and had many doubts but in the end she relied on God. 

When I closed the last page of the book I was left with a deep sense of gratitude for the provision that God continues to provide His children. Gabhart did a marvelous job of juxtaposing the Shakers with the believers in Christ without disparaging either group. I will be eagerly awaiting her next book.

I look forward to reading this book with my local book club. If you are thinking of reading it with your group there is a helpful Reading Group Guide with lots of insightful questions that you can download here.

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Photo Credit: © Memories by Chris

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