The Blessed

Written by Ann H. Gabhart
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

In The Blessed, Gabhart continues her delightful Christian romances set in the Shaker community of Harmony Hill in the mid-19th century.

Isaac Kingston returns to Louisville to bury his dead wife in her hometown, where her family will not forgive him for taking her away where she caught a fever and died. Isaac cannot forgive himself either. While contemplating suicide, Isaac meets a Shaker man who invites him to Harmony Hill for food and redemption. Isaac follows.

Lacey Bishop did not want to marry the elderly Preacher Palmer but could see no other option for her and her adopted daughter, Rachel. Lacey refuses her husband the marriage bed, and in his frustration and grief (having not properly grieved his first wife’s death), the preacher turns to the Shaker community.

The Shakers offer much to those in need, but they don’t always offer what is needed. The difficulties for Lacey multiply at Harmony Hill, but Lacey finds consolation in Brother Isaac’s smiles. Gabhart’s characters are rich and diverse, and her story is well paced and entertaining. The Shakers, who in this story have an odd mix of holiness and craziness, are created with care, love and respect by Gabhart.