Book review: The Blessed

My view:
     I looked forward to reading The Blessed  by Ann Gabhart after enjoying another book by her, Angel Sister. This book shared a view into Shaker life that I had not understood before. This is the story of a young girl caught up in circumstances, and she doesn't see a clear way out. The condemnation of others toward the maid character were harsh. Her recollections from childhood of teachings about God helped her later. That part woven into the story was the best part, in my opinion.

From the publisher:
      This historical fiction will transport you to an authentic Shaker community in the1840’s, as young Lacey Bishop finds herself transplanted into a new life.

Bestselling Author Ann Gabhart Writes A Novel of Forbidden Love
In the Shaker Village of Harmony Hill
“Let the child go, Lacey. Right now! We’ve come into this community to leave things of the world behind and do as they say” said Preacher Palmer. “But she needs me.” She spoke barely above a whisper. “She needs discipline. And so do you...” he said.
There is an intrigue and enigma with the Shakers and their way of life. Award-winning author Ann Gabhart weaves a heartrending novel of the Shakers in her latest Shaker novel, The Blessed (ISBN: 978-08007-3454-1, $14.99, 416 pages, July 2011). It is a time of spiritual revival in the mid-1840’s when the Shakers worship services received many spiritual messages from Mother Ann and other Shaker leaders. Harmony Hill was a place offering a different way of life from the world. This village was a place where the people were dedicated to community, hard work, practicing their worship, and engaging in long hours of worship each week.
It is 1844. In her twenty years, Lacey Bishop has endured hard times including the death of her mother and her father’s remarriage to a woman with no love for his children. When she was thirteen, Lacey went to live with the preacher and his wife. Upon the sudden death of the preacher’s wife, difficult times return for Lacey. The preacher convinces Lacey to marry him so she can continue to act as a mother to the little girl who was left on the preacher’s doorstop. But Lacey never expected he would decide to take all of them to a Shaker village. At the village her marriage is still legal to the outside world but living in a Shaker community, they believed marriage is a sin. Lacey finds herself drawn to Isaac Kingston, a man who came to the Shakers after his young bride died. Confused and her heart torn between right and wrong, Lacey must choose what to do. Discover how the Shakers lived in The Blessed and if truth, love and forgiveness become reality for Lacey.

     Ann Gabhart is the award-winning, bestselling author of several books about the Shakers, including The Believer, The Outsider and The Seeker. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village and one mile from the place she was born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. For more information about Ann visit her website at www.annhgabhart.com

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.


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