The Blessed by Ann H. Gabhart is the engaging story of a young girl trying to make her way in the world of 1844, sometimes with the love and support of those around her and sometimes in spite of their skewed advice. Lacey Bishop is cast out from her home at age 16, when her father forsakes her in favor of an abusive stepmother. Fortunately, Miss Mona, the preacher’s wife, takes her in. Miss Mona lovingly guides Lacey and gives her the care of baby Rachel, another unwanted child Miss Mona finds at her door.
Lacey and Rachel are bereft when Miss Mona dies. In order to stay with Rachel, Lacey rashly marries the preacher. Then in a stunning development, Lacey’s new husband moves the family to a Shaker village, where marriage is considered a sin. The marriage is never consummated. Rachel and Lacey are separated. And Lacey is left hurting and lonely and longing for some love in her life. That’s when she meets Isaac Kingston, a man who is not a Shaker true believer but seems to be using the Shaker village to hide from life.
By that point in the story, I was turning pages rapidly to discover just how the author would put Lacey, Isaac, and Rachel together in a God-honoring way—because it was so obvious they were the ones who truly needed each other!
As I read, I felt immersed in the Shaker world for several reasons. One, the talented writing of the author. Two, I live in close proximity to two Shaker villages. And three, I, too, have felt trapped within a group of believers who veered from the essential truths of Scripture and formed an isolated community. Though the Shakers created beautiful furniture and buildings and music, I rejoiced when Lacey finally found a way to make her dreams come true.
Available July 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. ***Thanks to Revell for providing my copy of The Blessed. You can purchase your copy of the book at this link.
About the author: Ann Gabhart is the award-winning, bestselling author of several books about the Shakers, including The Believer, The Outsider and The Seeker. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village and one mile from the place she was born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. For more information about Ann visit her website at www.annhgabhart.com.
***Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.