Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart

My thoughts:  As has been the case with each book I have read written by Ann H. Gabhart, this was a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable read. I found the story line to be compelling with a variety of events and life challenges that kept me turning the pages.

As I followed this fictional story of the primary character, Darcie, I felt such a heart rending compassion for her plight.While this story is, individually, about people and their interactions during a by-gone era, I feel the story is primarily about a religious movement that imposed unrealistic and unscriptural restrictions on those within their community of believers.

The Shakers of Harmony were definitely a closed religious group. While they considered themselves Christian, their teaching did not ever align with the tenets of the Christian faith. Their belief in celibacy far outdistanced any teachings of any other in that they believed they should not produce children and should not live in a marriage state.

So The Refuge is actually a place, a community of believers, a building or buildings. People with no means of support would seek refuge by joining this group and would give over all material goods to the community, obey all its teachings, and live in a state of harmony and peace if, and only if, they abided by all rules.

The author has researched diligently and provided insightful information on the Shakers and given the readers of The Refuge a clear window of understanding this group and also a look into the hearts and thinking of those who sought refuge within the confines of the Shakers.

I highly recommend this fascinating read.

About the book: 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?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

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