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Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to Karen Gerrity for winning Lisa T. Bergren’s Verity.
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Ann Gabhart’s first foray into writing Shaker novels occurred in 2008, which resulted in the bestselling novel, The Outsider. Since that time, Gabhart has penned six more Shaker novels, along with a number of stand-alone historical books and several series. Now Gabhart invites readers to return to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in an emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family in The Refuge.
When a recent outbreak of cholera sweeps through their area, Darcie and Walter Goodwin are determined to escape the epidemic by joining the Shakers, whose villages seem immune to the disease. Their stay was meant to be a temporary situation, but the best-laid plans don’t always work out. When Walter is killed in a riverboat accident, Darcie finds that with no family and no money, she has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby, conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village.
Widower Flynn Keller is struggling to raise a headstrong daughter but is finding it more difficult than he anticipated. He believes the Shakers’ strict rules will help provide the structure she needs. As Darcie reaches out to help the young widower and his daughter, she also begins to wonder if there is still hope for happiness and a family in her life. Can love live again in spite of rules and in a community that doesn’t believe in marriage?
The Good Old Summertime!
Do you remember how fun it was to leave school on that last day before summer vacation? Enticing days of freedom awaited. Time to read. Time to go exploring. Then the wakeup call. I did live on a farm. That meant summer was also time to work with my mom and dad and help with the farm chores. But that wasn’t every day and Sunday was always a day off except for those essential chores like feeding the chickens, pigs, and sometimes bottle feeding a calf or lamb.
So Sundays were a much looked forward to time when my cousins would come see us or we’d go visit them. And in the summertime, we would spend a week at their house and then they’d come spend a week at ours. We had to pick those weeks in the summer when the crops were laid aside. That meant the fields had been planted and were now too tall for any more plowing or hoeing out. Yet they needed growing time before harvest which usually wasn’t until September. We did have garden chores. Berries to pick. Beans and tomatoes to pick and can. And forever weeds to fight in the garden.
But we always had summer cousin visiting time. Playtime all day long for a whole week. We explored the woods. We played in the creek and when at their house, we swam in their pond. We hunted the hayloft to find where the mama cat hid her kittens. We played hide and seek outside at twilight. We made homemade ice cream and ate popcorn with homemade fudge. We climbed trees and dreamed of building tree houses that never quite got built. But we had fun with the planning. And when I was around nine, I began writing a mystery story starring my sister, my cousin and me as Hardy Boy wannabes. That turned out to be the biggest dream of all.
I remember waiting for my cousins to get to our house or the sweet drive through a tunnel of trees on their country road right before we got to their house. Such anticipation. Such certainty that fun was about to happen. The memories of those summers have a soft cozy glow even now. We were young, loved, and happy.
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling and award-winning author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, The Gifted, and The Innocent—as well as historical novels—River to Redemption, These Healing Hills, Angel Sister, Love Comes Home, and more. Writing as A. H. Gabhart, she is also the author of the popular Hidden Springs Mysteries series. She has been a finalist for the ECPA Book of the Year and the Carol Awards, has won two Selah Awards for Love Comes Home, and won RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love Award for These Healing Hills. Ann and her husband enjoy country life on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.