Prepare for tears! My review of "Orchard of Hope" by Ann H. Gabhart

Cover Art

about the book....

The smoldering embers of unrest are stirring--and even Jocie's sweet spirit can't put them out.

It's already been an eventful summer for Jocie Brooke. Little does she know, things have only just begun to heat up. Drought has gripped the quiet Kentucky town of Hollyhill and it seems as if everyone is waiting--for rain, for a fresh start, for the next step toward the future.

Into this tense haze of anticipation comes a new family, aiming to make a better life for themselves by planting an orchard on the outskirts of town. Fresh off the freedom train, Alex and Myra Hearndon are sensitive to what the color of their skin may mean in the segregated South. And even though Jocie quickly befriends the family, suspicion from both sides of the racial divide proves a formidable obstacle. Can Jocie help bridge the gap? Or will life in her quiet community fall apart at the seams?

Bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you back to Hollyhill for a gripping tale of unexpected friendship, forgiveness, and the bright promise of a new beginning.

my review....

I greatly enjoyed the first book in the Heart of Hollyhill Series, "The Scent of Lilacs", and so it was with great anticipation that I picked up the next book, "Orchard of Hope". I was certainly not disappointed! As I've said in other reviews, I'm a sucker for books where the main character is a child or teen and their innocence is tested against the heartbreak that they find as they emerge into adulthood. Jocie is a wonderful character who breathes with life and a sense of justice that is refreshing to read about, and her journey is a beautifully written one. There is a whole cast of characters that I love in this second novel, including the ones from the black community who push Jocie out of her comfort zone and cause her to take a good look at the inequalities in society. I found the writing to be solid, though I will say that some of the chapters in the middle had a tad too much introspection for my liking, such that not all the chapters moved the story forward for me as much as others. However, overall I simply couldn't get enough of this story as I waited for the tragedy that you just know is just hovering over the horizon. And then it hits, and I was held spell-bound by the resulting heroism and deep acts of faith played out on the pages. I soon forgot I was just reading a fiction story, and I'll admit that I basically had tears dripping down my face for the final couple of chapters. The story is a powerful portrayal of evil running up against grace and the light of God's eternal love.

Gabhart has written a story that will deeply engage your emotions, and hold you captive as you live through the characters she so richly portrays on the pages of "Orchard of Hope". Pick up a copy of this book. You will be glad you did. 4.5 out of 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.

 about the author....

Ann H. GabhartAnn H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at