It sounds silly but as I was thinking about writing this review, I was thinking how blessed I’ve been lately to be reading such good fiction that is not only a good story, but shares information about things I didn’t previously know.   The Blessed by Ann H. Gabhart was a enlightening novel about the community of people known as the Shakers.   I’ve heard of them but never really knew much about them.

The story revolves around the stories of three different people or sets of people.   First, there is a preacher, his wife, daughter and their housekeeper/nanny.   Second, is a man whose wife just died.   Third, is a Shaker community that binds the two together.   Various occurrences in the lives of the preacher and his housekeeper/nanny & daughter and the man whose wife died, both led to them joining a local Shaker community.  It’s painfully obvious that the housekeeper/nanny & the man whose wife died are not Shaker-material and this is the story of their struggle before, during and after joining the community.

I loved the detail of the Shakers and their lifestyle.  I had heard of their lifestyle before but didn’t really know or understand any of the details.   I liked the characters well enough and she did a great job showing the struggle of the preacher.   I did find it interesting that Miss Clueless (that would be me) would actually get clues as to some of his struggles and figure it out before it was “revealed.”

I thought the ending was a little sudden, but then again, it’s either sudden or you see it coming from a mile away :).  It’s hard to hit that middle ground.

Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes learning about other religions and likes historical novels.   It didn’t have a super romance feel to it so I would even recommend it to men.   Very interesting book and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Available July 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


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