Tuesday, December 26, 2017

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1945 and Francine thinks her future is secure. She's planning to marry Seth as soon as he's back from the war. When Seth writes her that he's in love with someone else Francine is devastated. Because Seth will bring his new love to America she decides it's time for a change. She signs up for the Frontier Nursing Service midwife training in the Appalachian Mountains. When she arrives she feels at ease straight away. Francine loves the mountains and she enjoys working with people, but there are many rules and customs she isn't used to. Has she made the right choice leaving everything she knows behind?

Ben's family lives in the mountains. He hasn't seen them for quite some time, being a medic in the army. The horrors of the war have greatly affected him and he's glad to go home. However, when he arrives he doesn't have a clue what to do with himself. What should his future look like now that he has the time and the freedom to make his own decisions? When he meets Francine he immediately feels she's special, but they're from different worlds. Can they be friends and maybe even more or do their backgrounds stand in their way?

These Healing Hills is a fantastic book. I was immediately intrigued by Francine. She's optimistic, strong and capable. She's kind and caring and never loses her faith. I loved how she takes the time to be there for people. She's a wonderful person and that makes this book incredibly beautiful. Moving from a life filled with luxury in the city to a much simpler and more basic one in the mountains isn't always easy and it was fascinating to read about her challenges. Francine makes mistakes and it's in those moments she has her most interesting meetings. I loved her connection with Ben, it's genuine and feels exactly right. I couldn't turn the pages of These Healing Hills quickly enough to find out what would happen to these two amazing people.

Ann H. Gabhart skillfully paints a gorgeous picture of the Appalachian Mountains. I could certainly understand why Francine would love being there so much. I enjoyed reading the vivid descriptions of both the surroundings and the inhabitants that made the whole story come to life very well. I liked how Ann H. Gabhart pays attention to every single detail. She's made sure the story perfectly suits the era she's writing about. It especially was a lot of fun to read about the songs they were singing. She combines lightness with serious topics and balances this exactly right. The result is a charming, entertaining, multilayered, thought-provoking and romantic story. I loved everything about These Healing Hills, it's a brilliant book.

Advice

If you love beautiful historical fiction about strong main characters you should definitely read These Healing Hills.

About Ann H. Gabhart


ANN H. GABHART, the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller. That’s not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. Ann’s historical novels have Kentucky backgrounds like her popular Shaker series and her new release, These Healing Hills set in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains. She also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart) in small towns like her Kentucky hometown. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy life out on the farm. To find out more about Ann’s books and to check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, visit www.annhgabhart.com.

Links

Website: http://www.annhgabhart.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-H-Gabhart/132862247566
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AnnHGabhart
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/annhgabhart/

Celebrating Christmas with My Characters
by Ann H. Gabhart

I love Christmas. I want everybody to find joy in the day as they focus their thoughts on a long ago starry night in Bethlehem when our Savior was born. As Christians, we do remember the reason for the season but sometimes all the expectations of Christmas traditions can be overwhelming. People often ask if I’m ready for Christmas and I’m happy to say Christmas comes, ready or not. That’s good because I never get completely ready. I miss out on making this batch of cookies or sending all my Christmas cards or well, something I think I should do. We often make ourselves a way too long to do Christmas list when we should be thinking of the greatest gift ever given–Jesus.

So right now, I’m going to forget about those cookies I haven’t baked and the presents not wrapped yet or all those other things I need to do and take a trip back in time to when a few of my characters celebrated Christmas. In my stories, my characters are the ones getting those presents wrapped and baking the cakes and cookies.

That part is a lot easier for me, and Christmas expectations did seem simpler years ago. Back in the 19th century, many families had a much different celebration. Perhaps families decorated a tree. Perhaps they didn’t. They may have gone to church and I have no difficulty imagining my characters reading the Christmas story from the Bible by candlelight. Families surely gathered to celebrate when they lived near one another. Stockings were hung by the fireplaces and filled with fruit and candy we can buy at the grocery store every week now and not just at Christmas. Even in the 1930’s and 40’s Christmas was still a simpler time for many families.

I do go back in time to celebrate Christmas with my characters in several of my books. In Summer of Joy, a story set in the 1960’s, my young heroine, Jocie, is surprised with a new bike, and if you know Jocie from my Heart of Hollyhill books, you know how happy that made her.

Head back a few more years with me to 1945 and my story Love Comes Home. With Christmas only days away, Kate welcomes Jay home from World War II. You can imagine how much fun I had writing a romantic first Christmas for them since they married right before he went overseas in 1942. Here’s a bit of a Christmas scene.

“What is it you want to find under the tree on Christmas morning?” Jay asked. He kept the ring he’d bought in Virginia secret in his pocket, glad he’d gotten something for her then, because now he couldn’t bear to let Kate out of his sight long enough to shop.

“You,” Kate whispered. “Only you.”

“But you’ve already got me.”

“Sometimes Christmas comes early.”

Then in my most recent release, These Healing Hills, it’s still 1945 with my midwife nurse, Fran, looking forward to a peaceful, joyful Appalachian Mountain Christmas.

When she thought about how her mother back in the city would be frantically decorating and planning for Christmas, Fran was glad to be in a cabin sitting by a warm fire with her dog at her feet. She had mailed her mother a pair of mittens Jeralene’s mother knitted and sent Harold a jar of sorghum molasses. Christmas shopping done.

She might go to Wendover on Christmas Day if Becca wasn’t having her baby. Or maybe she’d make cookies and stay right here at the center to hand out treats to anybody who came by. She could even wrap up some to take to Granny Em. That way she could stop in at the Locke house. Just thinking about that made her smile. She’d bought a little cloth sack of thumb-sized handkerchief dolls from one of the mountain women. Mrs. Jessup said they were church babies. Fran couldn’t wait to give those to Sadie.

So I’ve been able to celebrate Christmas with several different families. True, they are made-up families, but in my mind they became real as I wrote their stories. That made it extra fun to write them a blessed and merry Christmas. I wish you all the same as you remember the shepherds hearing angels sing, a baby born in a stable, and Mary pondering the wonder of it all in her heart. (Luke 2:19) May you also know the wonder and joy of Christmas in your hearts.

Giveaway

One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of These Healing Hills and a box of Modjeska candy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

44 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your release and an awesome year!!!

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    1. Thank you, Renee. And may you have a blessed and wonderful 2018 heading your way.

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  2. Thank you for the lovely guest post and this book sounds fabulous.

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    1. Thank you, Laura. I hope when you get a chance to read These Healing Hills you'll enjoy my mountain story.

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  3. Nice doggie on the cover! I'm sure one might live perfectly nicely in a cabin in the Appalachians if one had a nice doggie like that!

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    1. Indeed, John. Most mountain cabins in that era had a dog on the porch. Since I love dogs and am always glad to have one on my front step, I had fun writing Sarge into the story.

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  4. I love reading romances in the original version. I think this is a lovely book.

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    1. Thank you. A little romance brightens up most stories. :)

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  5. I think the book sounds really interesting Ann! Thanks!

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    1. That's good to hear, Kathy. So glad you think the story sounds like one you might like to read.

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  6. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

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    1. So nice of you to think of your Mum, Sue. When I go to book events, I often hear about mothers who love to read.

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  7. this looks like an interesting read, thanks xx

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    1. Fun, Ruth. I always want to write stories that are interesting reads.

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  8. Sounds a glorious read one im looking forward to in 2018

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    1. Love that you want to read These Healing Hills in 2018. I hope when you do get a chance to read it, you'll enjoy my mountain story and the Christmas celebration part too.

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  9. I love all the books I've read by you, and I know These Healing Hills is going to one of my favorites!

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    1. That's so nice of you to say, Connie. Thank you very much and I do hope These Healing Hills will be a favorite of yours.

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  10. On my list! Thank you for sharing :-)

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    1. Great, Coline. I'm glad to have my book, These Healing Hills on your list.

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  11. These Healing Hills sounds like the most delightful historical romance with Christian themes of faith and love running strongly throughout.

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    1. Those are nice words to read about how you think my story will be when you get a chance to read it, Solange. It does have history and romance and a faith thread through the story. I enjoyed going to the mountains for a story and I learned much about the Frontier Nursing Service.

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    1. I love the cover too, Judy. Especially since they let the dog, Sarge, be part of the scene.

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  13. I love this book and would love to eat the candy from your area sounds so good! peggy clayton

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    1. Thanks, Peggy. Wishing you luck in the drawing.

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  14. This is something I would definitely read.

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    1. That is something that definitely makes this writer smile. Thanks, pyramidblaster.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Michelle. Hope it brings you many happy days and good surprises.

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  16. The story sounds like something I'd enjoy to read. And the cover is really lovely.

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    1. So glad you think the book sounds like a good read for you, Irma. I really liked the cover too.

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  17. This sounds a wonderful story the cover catches my eye too which is always a good thing for pulling me in cant wait to read it congrats on your release and happy new year!

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    1. Thanks, Holly. The cover is an eye-catcher with the dog and the Frontier nurse. Hope when you get a chance to read the story that you will enjoy it.

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  18. This sounds like a great and interesting read. I hope you have a wonderful and successful 2018.

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    1. Thanks, Elizamatt. Hope you will have a great 2018 too.

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  19. https://plus.google.com/u/0/116323573693055422688 follow i put twitter by accident

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  20. this sounds great. id love to read it

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  21. I like historical romance! I 'll read this book!
    fb name: ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚΗ ΑΡΓΥΡΟΠΟΥΛΟΥ
    twitter name: @Vasiliki9280

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  22. Francine sounds like a wonderful character & I'd like to read her story.

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  23. Ann, I've been wanting to read this one! Love the cover!

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  24. This sounds like a great read to cosy up with.

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  25. this book sounds great, am looking forward to reading it :)

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