Christmas at Harmony Hill
by Ann H. Gabhart
Grand Rapids: Revell, 2013
While I have read my share of Amish fiction, I've never read any Shaker fiction before. The inviting cover and title of "Christmas at Harmony Hill" grabbed my attention, however, and I am so glad that it did. It tells the story of Heather Worth, a young married woman during the waning days of the Civil War. Her father, a southerner, turned her out when she fell in love with a northerner. She married Gideon and followed him into battle as a washer-woman. Heavy with child, her husband tells her she has to go home. He is convinced her family will not turn her away in this condition.
Unfortunately, he is wrong. Her mother and two brothers have died, hardening her father's heart even more. But her mother had written her one last letter before she died directing Heather to seek refuge in a nearby Shaker community where her Aunt Seraphina lives. The remainder of the story focuses on her time there, the changes in her aunt, as well as her husband's quest to survive the war and return to her.
This is a touching story - keep the Kleenex handy! - and I absolutely loved it. "Christmas at Harmony Hill" is wonderful historical woman's fiction that would be enjoyable any time of year. I will definitely be checking out other books by this author.