I’m a huge fan of Ann Gabhart’s Shaker books. I’ve liked them all. This one, however, might be my favorite. Ann does a great job of making the Shakers real in her stories. It would be so easy to make them cartoonish with their odd beliefs and odder ways, but she handles them with dignity and delicacy while showcasing their stories realistically.
This is historical fiction – not historical romance – but there is an undercurrent of a romantic thread in it which is touching. The Shakers believed that marriage was a sin. Yeah, I know, but they did. So the romance is all the sweeter for that background.
I enjoyed the movement and flow of the different points of view, including the young girl, Leatrice. It takes talent and attention to detail to write a child’s point of view well. Ann does. Her characters aren’t perfect (but then, who is?), but they are so realistic that you’ll be comfortable with them in minutes and involved in their lives before you even realize it.
You don’t need to have read any of Ann’s other Shaker stories to enjoy this one. But you may want to read them after!