Sunday, November 27, 2011
THE BELIEVER (ANN H. GABHART)
Will a forbidden love destroy all they know?
Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited: she can give in to the unwanted advances of an odious landowner - or she can flee.
When Elizabeth 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 life gets complicated when she finds herself attracted to a handsome young Believer named Ethan.
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 could Ethan’s love for her change their lives forever?
Elizabeth Duncan, her younger brother, Payton, and young sister, Hannah, had nowhere to go after their father died unexpectedly. Elizabeth began digging a grave while Payton built a wooden box to put their father’s body in for burial. As she was digging the grave along came the uncouth, slime-ball owner of the property they were living on. Colton Linley was a disgusting specimen of a human being and Elizabeth could barely tolerate him.
Colton jumped down into the grave that was now shoulder deep to tell Elizabeth he was there to collect his debt that her father owed him for use of the cabin they were using as their living quarters. Elizabeth knew her father owed Colton nothing but he insisted that her hand in matrimony was the deal the two men had verbally agreed to and he was there to collect. Elizabeth couldn’t even barely tolerate standing next to the man, never mind marry him! With much persistence on Colton’s part, Elizabeth finally told him to give her 2 days to grieve properly for her father and then she would willingly go with him to be wed. This gave her 2 days to figure out where they were going to go. They packed up only what they could carry and set off on foot.
The Shaker Village was in the next town over in Harmony Hill. Elizabeth had heard they took I orphans and decided they would be safest there, away from Colton Linley. But the Shakers have strange beliefs and conduct in dances where the ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ thrash around. They do not believe in marriage or having children and don’t live as families. The women are all housed together as are the men and the children. They tarry day and night like workhorses growing their own food, mixing their own medication from various roots, barks, mushrooms, berries and the like. They all refer to each other as Brother and Sisters and are not allowed to carry on conversations with the opposite sex.
However, Elizabeth didn’t plan on meeting someone like Ethan which makes her life very complicated. Ethan is a devout Believer but once he lays eyes on Elizabeth it awakens feelings in him that he’s never experienced before.
Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the Shaker Village to keep Ethan from falling away from his beliefs? Or will Ethan’s love for her change their lives forever?
I was totally pulled into this story from beginning to end. So many twists and turns and unexpected situations. A really enjoyable read!