Monday, August 17, 2009

The Believer

What will happen when forbidden feelings of love begin to arise?

The Shakers are remembered today for their minimalist, understated aesthetics. One thing they are not remembered for is their love stories. That’s because the religious values of the Shakers required they practice celibacy so that they could concentrate their energies on work and worship. This devotion sparked the interest of author Ann H. Gabhart, who lives only miles from a restored Shaker village.

As she learned more about the lives and beliefs of Shaker communities, which flourished during the early 1800s, Gabhart began imagining what might happen if feelings of love were awakened within the community. The Believer is Ann H. Gabhart's newest exploration of love and devotion in this quiet Shaker community in 19th century Kentucky:

In The Believer, Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn once her parents die and she is left in charge of her younger brother. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But when she feels a strong attachment to a handsome young Believer named Ethan, life gets complicated. Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can't shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him. Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or will Ethan's love for her change their lives forever?

Well-researched and brilliantly written, The Believer takes readers into the quaint Shaker life, and the difficult decisions that must be made when love and faith are at odds with one another.

“…rings with researched authenticity and will appeal to Amish romance fans.”
—Publishers Weekly

Ann H. Gabhart is the author of the successful Shaker-inspired novel The Outsider. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. You can learn more at her website.

For more information, visit

This was a fascinating book. My only previous frame of reference for the Shaker religion was the simple wooden furniture style that bears their name. The Believer is a wonderful story of love and faith, of wrestling with beliefs that have been handed down through the years, and of determining whether one will follow a religion or follow Christ, as well as the reverse persecution well-meaning but misguided zealots can inflict on those whose beliefs threaten the very core of the religious system.

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Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

This looks like a great book - I love the tales of the Amish so this might be a good fit for me!. Thanks for sharing it with us!

TCKK said...

This book sounds like something I must surely read. I've been to that Shaker Village in KY and in fact the town I'm from had a Shaker community nearby and we have several Shaker homes in our town!! They were a very interesting people!

Letters From Midlife said...

It's always nice to read your reviews before I invest in a book. My library is good about having Christian fiction available too. Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Sounds like a sweet story.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Thanks, Linda, for reading my book and posting such a kind review. Even better looks as if you have some blogging friends who may give the book a try. I liked getting to know my characters, Ethan and Elizabeth, and writing their stories. Thanks for reading and promoting Christian fiction.

Pat said...

oohhhh, this one sounds worth the read!
Thanks for the heads up Linda,