"Christmas at Harmony Hill" Review

"Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story"
by Ann H. Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: Sep 15, 2013
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband's army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation--deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, where her great aunt Sophrena lives. There, after many peaceful years at Harmony Hill, Sophrena is having doubts about her Shaker path. Both women are in need of love and forgiveness--whether given or received. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?
Ann H. Gabhart's many fans will be thrilled to return to Harmony Hill at Christmastime for this stirring story of healing and hope.
My Review:

This book is a difficult one to review. It was actually a difficult one to read, so much turmoil happens in the book, and there is an overall tone of melancholy. I'm also not sure how I feel about the way that the Shaker people are portrayed in the book. However, I found myself telling my fiance the entire plot of the book, so I think I must have enjoyed it more than I realized. The plot itself was quite exciting, and I found myself intrigued at the way that all of the pieces to the puzzle fit together by the end.

I have visited the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, which inspired the somewhat fictional village of "Harmony Hill" in the book. I love this place, and if you ever get the chance to visit there, please do!! It was lovely to imagine the story happening in this setting, I could totally visualize it in my head. However, it was tough for me to think about these stern and rigid people living in the beautiful and peaceful village that exists today. There was one female elder that just really rubbed me the wrong way. She was so mean to Heather, who just needed help. I would have liked for more of the Shakers to have been portrayed as kind people, such as the doctor, even if they didn't believe it the same things we believe in. I'm sure the author has done her research on the way the Shakers really were, but I just have preconceived, romanticized notions of how I would like them to have been.

The end portion of the book really had me turning the pages as fast I could. That was when everything started to come together and all of the characters really learned about what it means to forgive.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5

Bottom Line: The book isn't the typical holiday story, but the overall message of forgiveness is one we can learn from.

“Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment

Thanks so much for your lovely comments!