Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But when she feels a strong attachment to a handsome young Believer named Ethan, life gets complicated. Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can't shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him.
Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or will Ethan's love for her change their lives forever?
Prior to starting this book, I wondered whether I would enjoy a story about The Shakers given that Amish fiction (assuming it would be similar) is not something I often seek out. I was pleasantly surprised by Ann Gabhart's rendering of this tale of a desperate young woman finding refuge with her siblings with The Shakers, a religious sect that abide by strict rules including celibacy. Ann does an excellent job describing the Shaker lifestyle, describing the tension Ethan feels when faced with feelings he has never experienced and the freedom of faith unshackled by human rules. The romantic tension between Ethan and Elizabeth is beautiful and the minor characters provide substance and interest to the story. The Believer is an enjoyable and fascinating read.
Available August, 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
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