Don’t be fooled by the unassuming cover or the gentle beginning of Ann H. Gabhart’s newest novel The Believer. Emotional tension travels all the way through it and ends in an explosion of uncertainty, danger, and finally a bittersweet ending.
Elizabeth Duncan, newly orphaned and the guardian of her younger siblings, has a difficult choice for a young woman to make: Marry Colton, the hard-hearted snake they call a neighbor, or run away to the quiet and mysterious Shaker town of Harmony Hill. Anything to keep her little family together.
Fleeing Colton’s wrath, the trio – Elizabeth, her brother Payton, and little sister Hannah, are taken into the Shaker community and introduced to a new way of life. Unfortunately, Elizabeth fears the repercussions of her decision. Some of the members of the community think free-spirited Hannah is possessed by a demon, then the Payton she once knew dissolves into the blurry mass of ‘brothers’ without looking back, and her heart is stirred by the handsome Believer, Ethan.
With Elizabeth’s entrance into his life, Ethan feels a connection he’d never known…a desire he’d always been told was sinful. Working beside her and watching the beautiful person she is, Ethan’s promises of lifelong celibacy begin to war with the natural desires of his heart. Is God at work in a love between two Believers? Is he willing to sacrifice the Shaker-life, and possibly his soul, to be with Elizabeth?
This lovely story will lead the reader on a beautiful journey through the interesting Shaker beliefs without becoming encyclopedic. Gabhart’s rich descriptions and touching insights into her characters’ moral dilemma’s are realistic and meaningful.