A Book Review of one of the best Shaker novels!!!
By Ann H. Gabhart
Ann outdoes herself again in this fourth Shaker novel, part of her series, The Outsider, The Believer, and The Seeker. The Blessed is a truly a a work of art. I enjoyed the story line immensely, but also learned so much about the Shaker faith. There were so many facts that I was unaware of and the characters exhibit the true beliefs and feelings of this now extinct faith.
The setting is a Shaker village in Kentucky and the time is 1843. The main character, Isaac Kingston, a pastor , who is devastated after having just lost his wife. In their household, lived a young lady, Lacey, to whom his wife had become very attached to and loved dearly and a small child, Rachel, who had been found on the doorstep , as an infant. Ann has the ability to draw you into their lives and feelings, such that you become one with them. Their attitudes and feelings are described with precise detail.
Shakers arrive in the midst of this upheaval in Isaac's life. Due to his grief and loneliness, he had remarried very quickly and now the problems begin. He is so distraught that he decides the only answer is to to and become a Shaker. God took his beloved wife, he is in a loveless marriage and there is nothing else to try. In order for Lacey to stay with her dear little Rachel, she must accompany him, however does not realize the implications. She will be separated from the child anyway, as the children in the Shaker community live separately.
There are many twists and turns as the plot thickens in this new living arrangement. Shakers do not marry or touch the opposite sex. They believed in celibacy, communal living and the belief that perfection can be reached in this life. A challenge in itself!!!
This is a novel that I could not put down. Although it is lengthy, every chapter brought new thoughts, problems and adventures, often heartache.
What a fantastic book!! Can hardly wait to see what Ann Gabhart comes up with next!! Can it get any better??? I highly recommend this to all readers, although it is historically based, the facts and storyline are so wonderful , anyone would enjoy it.
"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".