Author: Ann Gabhart
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 30, 2019
When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?
Reviewer: Linda Klager
I really enjoyed the book, "The Refuge" The cover of the book depicted the dress that a "Sister" would wear when being in a Shaker community. The woman is walking down a path to the "Gathering House". In the distance you see this large house and other houses to the side of the road.
The only thing that is different about the dress is the color. Darcie describes wearing a blue Shaker dress. The cover shows a brown Shaker dress. I wonder why there is a difference in the color?
I was very interested in reading this book by Ann H. Gabhart because I have read another novel by this author. I had no idea about what was in store for me; I learned so much about the Shaker kind of life.
Darcie and her husband Walter, came to the Shaker village so that they could escape getting cholera. Unfortunately, men and women are split up and it is thought to be sinful to be married. Shakers do not believe in marriage. Even children are not permitted to live with their parents. The Shakers do have a very good work ethic - they believe in being really clean, too. Each Sister or Brother is assigned duties within the community.
I thought the author did an excellent job describing the Shaker kind of life. She also depicted Darcie's dilemma very well. Darcie was not happy living in the Shaker community and she found out two other "Sisters" were not happy living this kind of life. Each day Darcie prayed to find a way out. Darcie was finally able to "step out in faith" when it came time for her to leave the Shaker community. Even though the Eldress Maria was unhappy with Darcie's decision, in the end I believe she forgave Darcie.
Darcie was a very loving young woman. She was able to assist "Sister Mona" in realizing that she was loved. Sister Mona was a very mean little girl, but because of the love given to her by Darcie, she was able to finally start to live a life of kindness.
There was kindness, sadness, loneliness, and a bit of romance included in this novel.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing.
Reviewer: Becky Hrivnak
What a read! I loved being able to go back to Shaker times and step right into the lives of Darcie, Walter, Flynn, and Leatrice. Gabhart drew me in from the start and never let me go!
My favorite part was the friendship of Darcie and little Leatrice. I love how the Shakers were willing to take anyone in and help them, but they were really messed up beyond that. I love when a book can take me on a journey of the Shaker and "the world" around them so I can feel apart of the characters (1st person parts make me feel that way especially). I didn't want to put it down.
I received this book from Revell and Interviews and Reviews website. All thoughts and comments are my own.
Reviewer: Paul Shreckhise
Reading a novel by Ann Gabhart is like sitting and talking to a treasured friend. I love the quiet way her words creep into my soul.
I knew next to nothing about the Shakers except that I have long admired the simple lines of their furniture. Ms. Gabhart has opened my eyes to the often strange customs of the Shakers. I learned the reasons behind some of their actions and attitudes. The Shaker community of Harmony Hill seems quiet and orderly, but trouble can come to any place.
When Darcie Goodwin seeks refuge from cholera with her husband, Walter, she never thinks she would be there forever. She is given no choice but to stay at Harmony Hill when he tragically dies. She is obedient to the strange rules but has no real desire to stay there permanently. She prays God would direct her steps. What does God have in store for Darcie?
The characters in this book are truly living out their faith however diverse they may be.
This is a beautifully written story. Listen to the words of Silas Cox: “ Home.That’s a fine word, but I’ve been wondering lately if home maybe has more to do with the people you love than with a place.”
Ann Gabhart’s writing always calms me and causes me to ponder lots of things. To me that is a sign of a great writer. I have been a fan since I first read one of her books.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was under no obligation to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
I am never disappointed with an Ann Gabhart book and The Refuge once again confirmed my beliefs.
It is obvious from the outset the author has done a great deal of research into the Shaker movement. In fact, it got me wondering so much about them that I had to Google them to find out more, because as you go through the book, the Shakers sound more like a cult than believers in Christ. Yet, the movement is never treated as a cult, because of their love and devotion to each other and to God. And particularly because anyone was free to leave should they desire to go back into the world.
Our main character, Darcie Goodwin, has fled to the community with her husband Walter to avoid a cholera epidemic. The Shakers are at heart, good people, and welcome those in need into their world, if they adhere to their rules. Marriage is considered sinful and so Darcie and Walter are separated. Believing their separation is temporary, they agree to follow the Shaker ways. But, death finds them anyway when Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. Alone and pregnant Darcie is now faced with the possibility that once her child is born it will be taken from her and sent to live apart from her because another Shaker rule is that everyone is a Sister or a Brother. So, she would no longer be allowed to be the mother of her child. She prays desperately for the Lord to show her what she can do.
Enter Flynn Keller, a widower with a daughter (Leatrice) who is always getting into trouble. When circumstances change and he feels he can no longer keep her safe, he sends her to the Shaker village on a temporary basis, while he makes plans for their future. When he meets Darcie, he is intrigued and you know as you are reading the story that he will be the answer to Darcie's prayers, but you just can't figure out how! They are not allowed to talk to each other (for it is against Shaker rules) and so this book is hard to put down. How will the author bring these two together? You'll have to read the book to find out.
I loved the ending and you will love this story of how God can take the most impossible situations and work them together for His good.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing.