Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn't mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in her books. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it--or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks?
Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long she's nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others.
As is so often the case, it's easier to see what's best for others than to see what's best for oneself, and Perdita knows who Tansy should choose. But why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster?
Saddle up for a heartfelt story of love--love of family, love of place, and the love of a lifetime--from bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart.
Reviewer: Beverly Laude
This was a well-written and entertaining book about people living in the hills of Kentucky during the Great Depression. A group of women were chosen to be packhorse librarians, taking books and magazines to folks living up in the mountains, as part of a government program. The job is perfect for bookworm Tansy Calhoun and she takes her job seriously. No matter how horrible the weather, Tansy makes her rounds to those on her route.
One of the people on her route is Perdita Sweet, otherwise known as Aunt Perdie. Perdie surely doesn't live up to her last name. In fact, "Her trouble is she's been contrary so long she doesn't know how to be any other way." As Perdie sits in her cabin without much in the way of firewood or food, she prays that God will bring her someone to be family. Soon, a young woman, beaten and bruised and cold, appears on her doorstop, obviously pregnant. "A person needed to be careful what they prayed for."
Tansy meets a writer from NYC who is in the area collecting tales and stories to write a guide book about the mountains. Tansy is taken with Damien Felding and wonders if he might be like one of the handsome heroes of the books she reads. Thinking above herself, her father often accused. But, Tansy discovers that a young man from her past, Caleb Barton, is back home after a stint in the Civilian Conservation Corps. His brother was killed in a freak accident and his mother expects him to do as the Bible says and marry his brother's widow.
The author has done a wonderful job of intertwining these characters into a great story, full of hope and love in spite of the conditions they are forced to live in. There is plenty of inspiration throughout the book that reminds the reader that God is always with us. "The Lord ain't one to hold our sins against us if we ask forgiveness and aim to do better." She obviously knows and loves the area and it shows in her beautiful descriptions.
By the end of the book, most of the characters have found their own unique kind of happiness. As Aunt Perdie says, "I am confoundedly content. The way the Lord can bring blessings out of hard times can confound a body for certain."
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Nancy Brown
Ann Gabhart has written a warm, loving tale about mountain people during the Depression years. It's told in the dialect of the mountain people, which in itself is unique and engaging.
Tansy was an independent minded young woman who didn't want to get tied down to a family at her age, she had dreams brought about by reading books. She didn't fit the usual mold of women in the 1930s Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. Perdita Sweet was another independently minded woman, much older than Tansy, but very wise and experienced. Caleb, Tansy's neighbor and childhood companion, had left the mountains to find work to support his family, through the Corps, but his affection for home and a certain someone drew him back, to seek his heart's desire.
Amazingly, in this book, I remembered the characters names, which usually doesn't happen with me. I don't know how Ann did it, but she hit a Golden Set with this book. Her talents, gifted to her by God, are used wisely in her book, Along a Storied Trail. We hear about Jesus, which is the way it should be in a Christian writer's genre. The book isn't overly preachy, but you do get to examine with awe the beauty of what God created, as you ride along the trails with Tansy, the book woman.
The ending of the story was done so well! She could have gone one way, but the ending of Along a Storied Trail was just so succinct and refreshing. Thank you, Ann, for writing this book.
I received this paperback book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews, and was not required to give a positive review.
Reviewer: Linda Klager
This book is loaded with many interesting characters. Tansy Calhoun is a packhorse librarian during the very difficult years of the Depression in Kentucky. Many folks do not have books to read or even look at the beautiful pictures. Tansy rides her borrowed horse through all kinds of weather and is very dedicated to delivering those books and/or magazines. Tansy must depend on the generosity of others to donate books or magazines. Because of this Tansy can only give 1 book per person.
Everyone calls Perdita Sweet "Aunt Perdie". She is not an aunt to the people of her county. She never married and is down to her last bit of food when to her surprise a young pregnant woman walks through a blizzard to find shelter with Aunt Perdie. Aunt Perdie takes this young woman in, but the next day her home burns to the ground. It is a good thing that Tansy comes by to check on Aunt Perdie and Coralee and Aunt Perdie goes to live with Tansy's Mom, sister, and brother.
Caleb Barton left the area to work for the CCC headed up by President Franklin Roosevelt. After a while, Caleb heads back home because of the untimely death of his brother, Rueben. Rueben leaves a widow and son and they are struggling to get over Rueben's death. Caleb's Mother wants him to marry the widow, but Caleb only has eyes for Tansy.
Preacher Hiram Rowlett is not an official preacher, but he is very knowledgeable about the Bible and loves the people of the county, and does what he can to help. Perdita Sweet has been in love with the preacher, but she never told him her intentions. She did write a letter practically asking Hiram to marry her, but never sent the letter. She put that letter in her Mother's Family Bible.
Tansy's mother, Eugenia, has a house full of people but enjoys having Perdita and Coralee plus Junie there with her family. Her husband left the area to find work. The Depression Era was really hard on families to survive.
I enjoyed the country feel of this book. The writing was superb and one could picture the area and the way people talked and what they did on a day-to-day basis. There was a lot of beautiful family life although some of it was very difficult because of circumstances. Some danger was added to this story towards the end of the book! All I can say is "Wow!" I have read a lot of Ann H. Gabhart's books and will continue to do so.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
Gabhart's books just keep getting better and better. I know I'm in for a treat when I grab one of her books. Kentucky has such awesome history. This particular book has stolen my heart.
"Sometimes love knows no age."
How true. Love can find you anywhere, anytime, and anyplace. It doesn't matter how old or young you are. Especially if it's in God's timing.
So much was going on with the people in this book. I got caught up in their everyday lives, and I couldn't put the book down.
My favorite character was Perdita Sweet. She's what made this story, in my opinion. I loved getting to know her. Her way of words had me snickering in some places. Some I haven't heard for a long time!
My least favorite was Damien Felding. I felt that he was kind of overbearing and a know-it-all at times.My heart feels full after a good wholesome story like this one. Thanks, Ms. Gabhart, for another wonderful story, and I can't wait to see what you come out with next time! Five stars for sure!
My thanks for a copy of this book that I received from Revell through Interviews & Reviews. I was NOT required to write a positive review.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
I love how the author has woven the the history of the packhorse librarians into the story of Tansy Calhoun, a young woman with a love of the written word and longing for something just out of reach.
She must soon choose between the familiar offered by Caleb her friend from childhood and Damien a writer offering adventure she’s only read about. The characters are unique and well written lending authenticity to the rich depiction of life in the hills of Kentucky during the 1930s.
Aunt Perdy is lonely when a young pregnant girl shows up on her doorstep in the middle of winter. With no food to share she isn’t sure what to do but she finds a tender place in her heart for Coralee.
Fire takes her house, bringing them into the Calhoun home, making it the centerpiece of the story, showing family is much more than blood, love overcomes many circumstances, and faith brings the unexpected. God has a way of orchestrating life in the best possible ways, proving that good comes out of every situation.
This was one of my favorite books so far this year.
I was given a copy of this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group through Interviews & Reviews via NetGalley. This is my honest opinion of the book.
Reviewer: Carolyn Bryant
This beautifully written book caught my attention from the beginning and held it to the end.
The multi-layered plot flows at a steady pace with a few surprises here and there! The characters are engaging and believable. You are kept guessing about the outcome of the relationship between packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun, her childhood friend Caleb Barton, and visiting writer Damien Felding. Two other romances may be blooming, also!
Ms. Gabhart’s research and descriptions of the historical WPA Packhorse Library Project, and the people it helped, expressively and poignantly reflect the courageous, resilient spirit of the Appalachian Mountain people during the Great Depression Era.
The references to Jane Austin and Pride and Prejudice are delightful. I also loved the strong faith element that permeates the story. I totally enjoyed this heartwarming, captivating story. This book left me smiling, and I highly recommend it.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews, for my honest opinion.
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