Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Story Description: 

Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants.  But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers – a religious group that does not allow marriage – she is left dumbfounded.  And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte’s sister, it is more than she can bear.  With the country – and her own household – on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill.  Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road of unforeseen consequences.   

Ann H. Gabhart brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry; the simple Shakers, and the ravages of war in 1860’s Kentucky to weave a touching story of love, freedom, and forgiveness. 

My Review: 

Charlotte Vance’s fiancé, Edwin Gibley, announces that he is going to join the ‘Shaker’s up in Harmony Hill.  The Shakers “originated in England in the eighteenth century.  Its leader, a woman named Ann Lee, was believed by her followers to be the second coming of Christ in female form.  The Shaker doctrines of celibacy, communal living, and the belief that perfection could be attained in this life were all based on revelations that Mother Ann claimed to have divinely received.  The name Shaker’s came from the very way they worshipped at times when a member received the “spirit”, he or she would begin shaking all over”. 

Charlotte just couldn’t believe Edwin would give up a life of being married to her to live as a single man in an odd religious society.  They were to be wed next month in May.  As if this wasn’t bad enough news, Charlotte’s father arrives home after time away escorting a new wife on his arm!  And, she had to be at least 20 years younger than her father.  Yes, Selena Harley Black was to be the new mistress of Grayson. 

As Charlotte stood outside in the night air watching her father’s home-coming party through the window, she was trying hard to convince Edwin to give up his ridiculous idea of joining the Shaker community.  But, Edwin had heard enough from Charlotte and went back to the party leaving her alone in the darkness when suddenly a male voice said: “He must be an extremely foolish man to turn his back and run from such a beauty” Charlotte was startled and whipped round to find a tall, dark handsome man who introduced himself as Adam Wade, an artist who was commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of the new Mrs. Vance.  Was painting the new Mrs. Vance all that Mr. Wade would be involved in at the Grayson Estate? 

This was a spell-binding piece of historical fiction set in the 1800’s.  The characters were well-developed and I felt myself feeling the emotions of each character.  I found the Shaker doctrines to be interesting and gleaned a lot of information about this old but odd order.  Good reading!

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