08 September 2015

Diana's Review Of THE INNOCENT By Ann H. Gabhart


The Innocent By Ann H. Gabhart
Revell, 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
5 stars~ (No spoilers!)

Intriguing Historical Fiction!

In the masterful prose she is so well known for, author Ann H. Gabhart has penned another fascinating story of the religious sect known as the Shakers during the post-Civil War era.

It has been two long, lonely years since Carlyn Kearney received news from the Union Army that her husband, Ambrose, was missing. In hopes that he might still be alive, Carlyn waits patiently—but finds herself penniless and at the mercy of the cruel and lascivious Curt Whitlow, the owner of her house. Curt arrives with Mitchell Brodie, the kind and handsome new sheriff in town, to force her from her home. With nowhere else to go Carlyn finds herself seeking refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill.

Under the strict tutelage of Sister Edna, Carlyn learns the strange ways of the Shakers. Marriage and other worldly ties and possessions are forbidden and considered a sin, and instead of living a simple life stringent rules must be learned and obeyed. Soon mysterious deaths disturb the peace of the Shaker village and Mitchell is determined to find the person responsible. Mitchell and Carlyn fight their growing attraction for one another as she is still a married woman—or is she? Will her beloved Ambrose make his way back home to her awaiting arms? And when she finds herself in terrible danger, will either man arrive in time to rescue her from the dark clutches of death?

I have read all of Ann H. Gabhart's books regarding the Shakers and they are truly mesmerizing! From their strange worship dances and furious stomping to the separation of families and earthly possessions, Ms. Gabhart's research and vast knowledge of the Shaker religion is impeccable. Except for the fact that they were a very hard working, devout people who believed in living simply, the Shakers were very much unlike the Amish in that they followed the teachings of Mother Ann and total celibacy. The Innocent is a spellbinding page-turner with everything one could ask for in a novel – a bit of mystery, tenacious characters, a strong spiritual thread, and oh, I musn't forget the romance! A book you won't be able to put down until the climactic conclusion...be sure to order your copy today!

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 Spiral Staircase Designed And Built By The Shakers!
  This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, BAM, and your local bookstores.

Pics courtesy of author Ann H. Gabhart. Thank you, Ann!

Two staircases were built—one for men and one for women. They would be severely reprimanded if they even glanced at one another!




Centre house where Ann bases her fictional setting of her Shaker village in
Pleasant Hill Shaker Village in Kentucky.


GIVEAWAY: A paperback copy of Ann's book to one blessed commenter! To be eligible be sure to leave your email addy using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers. 




65 comments:

  1. Thanks Diana, for your lovely and intriguing review of Ann's book 'The Innocent'! I LOVE Ann's writing but I've yet to read many of Ann's Shaker books. Oh for more time to read!! ;) This does sound like one to keep you up.. :)

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    1. Hi, Noela. I need that extra day for reading too. So many books. So little time. Well, our preacher used to say we all had the same amount of time in each day, but his wife always told him that a woman's time got used up twice as fast. LOL. I hope if you do read one of my Shaker books, you'll enjoy the story. I very much appreciate Diana's good words about the book.

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    2. Haha how true that is, Ann!! I think it's all that multi-tasking we do that uses up the time so fast! ;) Ann, I know I most definitely will enjoy your Shaker books when I get a chance to read them. And I hope I get that chance soon!

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    3. Thanks, ANN, and NOELA! Ann has a whole series of Shaker books and each one is just as fascinating as the other! I find it so interesting that they had the know how and the ability to build those beautiful spiral staircases! I would hate to have to climb up those things very often. I doubt there were many overweight Shakers!

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    4. Actually, Diana, if you look back at early pictures of historical eras, there were very few overweight people anywhere. When you have to plant, harvest and process most of your food, the calories just don't add up as quickly as when you can bring it home from the drive-thru. But the Shakers were hard workers and if you were a Shaker and able bodied you were expected to work. However, they did also take care of their older members or those who had physical problems. Kindness and compassion was expected among their societies.

      Noela, I do sometimes think I can do it all. I told my doctor at a recent checkup that I was sometimes tired, but that could be because I try to keep working like I'm 35. I'm not 35 any more. The funny thing is that some of the readers here will probably think 35 is old. :)

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    5. That is true, ANN! Gosh, did they ever work! I got tired when I was reading the book! haha I know my gkids think 35 is old, and my age of uh...well never mind...is ancient! :P

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  2. I've read several of Ann's Shaker book, would love to add this one to my TBR stack!

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    1. They are wonderful aren't they, PATTY? Thx for sharing and please do return and leave your email as we have several different Pattys who enter. :)

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    2. Thanks so much for reading some of my books, Patty. I appreciate every reader and I'd love for you to have The Innocent on your TBR stack.

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  3. I loved the little snippet of the story. Now I wonder will Ambrose come back and what will happen between her and Mitchell. This looks like a really good story. Also her ordeal of learning to live amongst the strick Shakers sounds interesting and the mystery of the murders, geez. I want the book like right now lol///l.bergh@ sbcglobal.net. Btw I didn't know what you meant by using dot and at to avoid spammers. I hope I wasn't supposed to actually say DOT and/or AT! Yikes I may have invalidated my entry.

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    1. Lol, LAURIE! I wanted it right now, too, when I first saw the cover! No, your entry still counts! Sometimes spam bots can copy your email when you use @ and ., but can't when you use (at) and (dot). No worries, though, but nice to know for future references! The world unfortunately is full of evil...

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    2. Maybe the spam bots will skip over this site today, Laurie. So glad that you think the story sounds like one you want to read. That's always good for an author to hear.

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  4. Sounds like a great book. Interesting about the staircases! And definitely as Ann commented in a reply...too many books, too little time!
    anne at rightler dot com

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    1. It is a wonderful book, ANNE! I wish I could read more, but I would need two heads for that. lol Good luck in the drawing!

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    2. Thanks for dropping by, Anne. Those stairways are amazing. If you ever come to Kentucky, you should plan a side trip to the Pleasant Hill Shaker Village just to see them. They have a twin pair since the men and women in the Shaker societies had to use separate staircases for fear that an incidental touch on the staircases might plummet them into sin. Romance was strictly forbidden. Makes a writer have to sneak romance in through the back door. :)

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    3. And you slip it through the back door very nicely, ANN! :)

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    4. I do try, Diana. A little romance sweetens most any story.

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  5. What a beautiful review, Diana - thank you!!

    I love Ann's writing, have many of her books, love that she is a resident of Ky. - and lives less than 1 1/2 hours from me. I attended one of her book release parties, in fact - wanted to attend the one for 'The Innocent', but wasn't feeling well that day. The parties are such fun - Ann speaks about her writing journey and books, invites questions, signs books and poses for pics, gives away beautiful door prizes, and even makes some of the refreshments. She is such a sweet, humble lady - a gifted author who enjoys interacting with, and meeting her readers!!

    I enjoy promoting her wonderful books, and also beautiful Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill. I've been there numerous times - enjoy it's buildings, history, watching the resident actors in costume - performing the tasks and making the crafts of the Shaker era, purchasing their handmade crafts, and eating their delicious Shaker recipe food. I've also spent a night in the inn - the room with simple décor and furnishings, as the Shakers' would have used. The staircase in the above pic is located in the inn/dining hall, and is absolutely beautiful. I've also participated in a Christmas tree decorating event, with hand-made ornaments, in the above pictured building - complete with a cappella music. As well as a mock church service, sitting on a narrow (backless, light-weight) bench - which I nearly tipped over while sitting on it, lol!! There is much to see at Pleasant Hill - they have numerous events during the year, a guided boat tour is available on the river, and a horse stable is available for people who want to bring horses and ride on the expansive property.

    One doesn't wonder at Ann's fascination with the Shaker religion, after viewing Pleasant Hill - it's a place that keeps drawing one back again and again, as Ann's books will - for those reading their first!! There are numerous other historical sites in the area also, for the history buffs - I had lunch at one just this past Friday.



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    1. Always good to have you drop by, Bonnie. You told about the beautifully restored Shaker village here in Kentucky very well. It is a great place to visit. If you want more info, you can check out their website. www.shakervillageky.org. They have many special events during the year as well that don't relate to the Shakers, but make use of the lovely Shaker background. The boat tour is especially fun in the fall when the trees along the KY River are turning.

      I hope you'll be able to come to another of book parties soon, Bonnie. I'm planning another for the middle of October to talk about my new cozy mystery, Murder at the Courthouse. Maybe that's why I eased a little mystery into The Innocent to get my readers ready for my new venture into the mystery world.

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    2. BONNIE, thank you for sharing that with us!! I so appreciate your time in doing that and I'm sure your comment has enticed all of our viewers to visit there! It has me...one day maybe I'll be able to. God is full of surprises! And I agree with you about ANN being a sweet, humble lady. Although we have met only on FB it shines through.

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    3. I'll certainly add that Oct. book release party to my calendar, Ann - and hope I'm able to attend. I'd love to hear about your venture into writing mysteries, and 'Murder at the Courthouse'!!

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  6. Interesting and informative article. Sounds like a wonderful read. Would love to add this book to my collection. Thank you.

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    1. MARY ELLEN, I hope you get the chance to read this one ASAP! Thank you for coming by!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Mary Ellen. Hope you are able to add my book to your collection.

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  7. **Just a friendly reminder: To be eligible be sure to leave your email addy using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers. That way we can contact you if you are our blessed winner! **

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  8. This looks like a good one. I would love to read and review on my site. Thanks for the giveaway!

    sydneyjames68 [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. Hi, SYDNEY! I believe you'll enjoy this one as much as I did! Thx for coming by and showing an interest in Ann's book!

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    2. Hi, Sydney. Hope you will get a chance to read and review The Innocent.

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  9. Diana, you always give such wonderful reviews. I wonder if there is an online class to learn how to write such positive and informative reviews , lol . I have not read any of Ann Gabharts books yet but am very much interested in doing so . Even though we may think the Shakers are weird or different than us no fault can be found in their work ethic . If we would have been born this way it would be the norm to us . I am very interested in reading Ann's newest book . Book1lovingmomma at gmail dot com

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    1. And you, DEANNE, are so sweet to say so! I pray alot during the whole process bc I am not a writer and He helps me. The Shakers were indeed a hard working peace loving people and Ann's books have taught me so much, while entertaining me as well! Good luck, DEANNE!

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    2. Hi, Deanne. The Shakers did have a very different way of looking at life, but I can't say that any of them were "born" to the Shaker life since Shakers didn't believe in marriage or families in the normal sense of thinking. All their members were converts. Of course, some very young children, perhaps orphaned by the Cholera epidemics or other reasons in the 1800's, were raised by the Shakers in their villages. So they would have grown-up with the Shaker ways. That is one way the Shakers hoped to gain converts, but it didn't work out well for them in that regard. Only one in ten of those children raised by the Shakers stayed to join the society. A convert had to be 21 before he or she could sign the Shaker covenant and become a committed Believer. That didn't always keep members from changing their minds and going back to the "world." The Shakers did have a wonderful work ethic and their buildings that remain show that. They intended everything they did to be the best that they could do whatever it was whether it was making a broom, building a house or making biscuits. Hope you'll get to read my book and you are so right about Diana writing wonderful reviews.

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    3. Thank you, ANN, for your kind words. :)

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  10. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Shakers.

    A lovely review thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hi, Mary. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will get a chance to read my new Shaker book.

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    2. Thank you so much, MARY. Kind words indeed...

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  11. The cover on this book is so pretty. The book sounds very interesting. Would love to read about the Shakers and lern more about them.

    Seraphinangel7(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Hi, JUANITA! I love all of Ann's covers on her books! This one is very eye-catching. And the pages within just as wonderful!

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    2. Hi, Juanita. The Shakers were an interesting society. I hope you will enjoy finding out more about them if you read one of my books. And Revell, my publisher, does a fabulous job of making covers that look great for my books.

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  12. I love Ann's books too! That spiral staircase is breathtaking! Thanks for sharing, the excerpt, pictures & chance to win with us!
    rw620 AT aol DOT com

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    1. Oh, ROBIN, I so agree! I just had to share a pic of that. And to think they had to build two of them! Hard workers, those Shakers!

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    2. And think, Robin, at the Trustee House at the Shaker Village there is not only one of these staircase but two. I've let them (the staircases) make an appearance in all of my Shaker books except the first one, The Outsider. The Trustee House hadn't been built at the time of that book.

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  13. Ann, you're one of my favorite authors and this sounds like another great book!
    Thank you all for the chance to win a copy!!
    Cspicuzza83(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You're so welcome, CHRISTINA! Good luck in the drawing!

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    2. Hi, Christina. How nice of you to include me in your favorite authors! I'm honored. Good luck in the drawing.

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  14. Another great review Diana. And good read from Bonnie. Lucky lady being close enough to visit Ann. I would love that privilege. I have the rest of her shaker books and sure hoping to win this one to finish it. Can't imagine that many women and guys and no hanky-panky going on at some time. LOL Don't think I would want to be a part of their group but very interesting to read about. GOD bless you Ann and all of my OWG girls. (((Hugs))) to all.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Always good to have you stop by, Maxie. I'm sure a little hanky-panky went on at times in the Shaker villages, but if so those "misbehaving" were instructed to stop or leave. And of course, there were those couples who left in the night to start a new life away from the Shakers.

      It would be fun visiting with you for a while, Maxie. I know you could tell some mighty fine stories of your life. Good luck in the drawing.

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    2. MAXIE, I agree with Ann. I know you could tell us a story or two! You have shared some fine ones with us here on OWG! I chuckled about the hanky panky remark because I thought the same thing. People are human! Wonder if any of them ever got away with it? I doubt it b/c they were so closely supervised. Always a pleasure, MAXIE!

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  15. This sounds like a great book and an awesome blog! I'm glad I stopped by to check it out. Sarahsmithstorm at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi, SARAH! I'm glad you found us and welcome to OWG! I hope you stop by often as we do a lot of reviews on the best books and great giveaways weekly! Good luck in the drawing!

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    2. I'm glad you stopped by to check it out too, Sarah. And the blog hostesses here are the best.

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    3. You're so sweet, ANN...thank you!

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  16. Sounds like a great read. kamundsen44(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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    1. Hi, KIM! I hope you get a chance to read it ASAP!

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    2. Hi, Kim. I hope you'll get a chance to read about Carlyn and her dog, Asher soon.

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    3. I absolutely adored Asher, Ann! I just thought my review was already too long to add him, but he was a hero in my book....pardon my pun!

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  17. I love to read and I love to read Amish books .This sounds really good .Thanks for the offer for The Innocent .Blessings DanaGirl.
    jashbk{at}earthlink{dot}net

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    1. This one isn't Amish, DANA, but there are some similarities between them and the Shakers - who I think you'll find just as fascinating! Good luck!!

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    2. Diana is right about The Innocent not being about Amish, Dana. But you might enjoy reading about the Shakers. Amish and the Shakers are quite a bit different, especially when it comes to the family unit, but they were an interesting society.

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  18. Hi Diana, your review of Ann's "The Innocent" drew me right into the story and I was so enveloped in the story line that I could hardly wait to begin reading it. I ordered it (Kindle - Amazon) and it is now waiting for me to read it. I have read many stories built around the Quakers and Amish, but never one about the Shakers. I also love the post Civil war era so that makes her book even more exciting to me. I can see that I will fast become an Ann H Gabhart fan! Your Heart"wings" sister, Joyce Graves. joyce1510{dot}jrg{at}gmail{dot}com If I do get lucky in the draw, I will gift the book to a friend and bring another fan into Ann's world. j

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    1. Well now, Joyce, your comment is the kind to get any author smiling. I do hope you will enjoy The Innocent and then might decide to give some of my other books a try. You can read about all of my books on my newly redesigned website, www.annhgabhart.com.

      I love the way you think about gifting the book to a friend if you win. I tell my reading friends who have already read the story to come on over and leave a comment to get in on the drawing. Books do make great gifts.

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    2. And any reviewer smiling as well! This is why I do what I do...I love talking about excellent Christian fiction! And to have a viewer buy a book bc of my review w/out waiting to see if they have won is just icing on the cake! :)

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  19. Thanks for a wonderful review, Diana. I have never read anything about the Shakers and certainly am enthralled now! I certainly hope I win...:)
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Ann has a whole series based on the Shakers...all very intriguing, BETTI! I hope you get a chance to read them soon!

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    2. Good luck in the drawing, Betti. Hope if you get a chance to read any of my Shaker books, that you will enjoy the stories.

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  20. Congrats to SARAH for winning a copy of The Innocent!! I emailed you, Sarah!

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