Jul 24, 2011
The Blessed by Ann H. Gabhart
It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such relationships are forbidden.
Can Lacey ever find true happiness in this mysterious place?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and The Blessed. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in Kentucky.
Visit the author's website at http://www.annhgabhart.com/
Life in a Shaker community is something that I have never learned about. A note at the front of the book describes some of the history and origins of Shakerism. I found this history very interesting and it provided a solid base for the story that followed. Their leader, a woman named Ann Lee, was believed to be the second coming of Christ in female form.
The worship rituals and strange beliefs had me shaking my head at the absurdity of it all, and it is hard to comprehend that these things actually took place. They had doctrines of celibacy, communal living, and they also believed that perfection could be attained in this life.
Lacey was trapped in a loveless "marriage of convenience" to a preacher older than her own father. She really had no choice but to follow her husband when he decided to leave the ministry of the Baptist church to join the Shakers.
The family, such as it was, was immediately separated. Men lived with the men, women lived in the women's building, and children were raised apart from their parents. All members of the community were expected to follow unbelievably rigid rules, even to the extreme point of always starting up the stairs with the right foot, not the left.
Lacey had experienced many losses in her life, and she wasn't too sure of her own faith. That is, until everything she held dear was threatened. She silently fought back to find a way to keep her independence and sanity, and through it all her relationship with God strengthened.
For a really different historical fiction novel, check out The Blessed ... a truly fabulous story that I will remember for a long time.
Disclosure: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.