Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Innocent

The Innocent 
Published by  Fleming H. Revell Company 
Released July 7, 2015
5 Stars

Brief Description:
 Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. The war ends without further word. Now penniless, in debt, and forced from her home, Carlyn seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, only to discover that they will not allow her to keep her beloved dog, an animal that has been her faithful companion since her husband went off to war. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie has pity on the lovely young woman and agrees to take the dog. Carlyn is just settling into life as a sister in the Shaker village when she receives a devastating letter confirming her worst fears. As she wrestles with whether to commit herself fully to the Shaker life, mysterious deaths begin to occur, and Carlyn comes under suspicion. Can Sheriff Mitchell help her expose the true culprit?

This is a very intriguing story.  This is the first Ann H. Gabhart story that I have read, but I can assure you it won't be the last.  

How many have heard of the Shaker religion?  Certainly, being from Kentucky, I have heard of it, but essentially know nothing about this religion.  The author has written this story in a way that shares their basic beliefs which helps the reader fully immerse themselves in the story.  This is a story about the hardships a young woman endures after the Civil War.  
Carlyn Kearney grew up under the stern guidance of her father, a traveling preacher.  This quote will give you an idea of what her father was like:
"Wife do not encourage wrong thinking in our offspring.  There is much the female brain cannot comprehend.  It is best to leave interpretation of the Scripture to those chosen by the Lord for understanding."
When Carlyn met Ambrose he gave her the one thing she had longed for and that was love and understanding.  Ambrose left for the war promising that he would return to her. Now 2 years has passed and she is still hoping for his return.  She is referred to as widow, but doesn't believe this is so because she has no proof.  Vows of faithfulness does not keep a roof over your head and when the sheriff arrives with notice that she is to move within the week she knew the law was not on her side.  Uncertain of her marriage status she hopes the Shakers community down the road from her will take her in.  
The Shakers are peaceful through simple living,  hard workers, but also very devout in their religion.  Carlyn must read and learn from their book of instruction, but has problems from the onset.  She is eager to learn and for the first time feels safe, but this life seems anything but peaceful.  Carlyn spies an outsider having an argument with a brother of the order and suddenly the entire village is in an uproar.  
What a wonderful stoy!
I loved the characters, imagery and the storyline.  I was drawn into the story by the characters, but the storyline kept me turning the pages.  I was pulled to Carlyn and her plight.  She was a good person and always wanting to do the right thing,  even when she met resistance and adversity.  Sheriff Brodie was a larger than life character that knew he didn't have all the answers, but still used determination to look for them. 
I would recommend this book to anyone. 
I would like the thank Revell for giving me this book for a honest and unbiased review as stated above.  

Meet the author:

Ann H. Gabhart
 Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She's published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800's, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960's. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl.

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