Contains an air of authenticity: My review of The Gifted by Ann H. Gabhart

Gifted, The: A Novel


Some dreams were meant to come true.

Jessamine Brady has been in the Shaker Village for half her young life, but in spite of how she loves her sisters there, she struggles to conform to the strict rules. Instead she entertains dreams of the world outside. When Tristan Cooper seems to step out of those dreams to entice her into the forbidden realm beyond the Shaker Village, her life turns upside down.

Will Jessamine be able to survive the storms of the world? Or will she retreat back to the peace of Harmony Hill?


The Gifted is a book that called to me to be read, because never before have I read a novel about the Shakers - and their beliefs are fascinating indeed! It is clear that Gabhart has done careful research into their simple ways of living, their beliefs against the "sin" of marriage, their manner of speech and dress. The novels has an air of authenticity, and I felt like I had been immersed back into time and truly entered a Shaker village. Jessamine's character is an original one, with her free nature constraining against the numerous rules of the Shaker community, her curious moments of wondering leading her into one predicament after another! Her longings to know a father's love and also to experience the romance that grows between a man and a woman both make for interesting story lines in a wonderful historical setting. My only fault with the book is that I felt that after the initial chapters, the book seemed to slow down quite a bit for the fist half, with a number of the chapters spent mostly in the memories or past of the characters without much action to move them forward. Consequently, I found this to be a less interesting read than Gabhart's last book, Words Spoken True, a book that I gave a very high rating.

Still, while I myself have not had the pleasure of reading Gabhart's previous Shaker novels, I have no doubt that fans of her prior books will find this a delightful read. The last part of the book moved along quickly, containing plenty of action-packed drama, romance, and a wonderful conclusion. The beliefs of the Shakers, misguided as they are, also contain an attractive call to simpler living. Their beliefs make an interesting backdrop for this story, providing a contrast that proves God's true plans for our lives to be all the sweeter indeed.

I give this book a rating of 3.5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


 Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and The Blessed. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in Kentucky.