Book Review: These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart #TheseHealingHills



About the book . . . 

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII’s end writes to tell her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds. . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

About the author . . . 

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she AnnHGabhartwanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800′s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960′s.  Visit Ann’s website


My Review . . . 

In a move away from her previous series, Ann Gabhart’s latest novel is set in 1940s Appalachia.  Blending historical fact with fiction, this book explores the story of the Frontier Nursing Service at the end of WWII.  Francine and Ben have both been affected by the War, and while Ben has returned home to the mountains to heal from his experiences, Francine has come to the mountains to make a fresh start.

You can always tell when an author is from Kentucky because the dialect rings true.  Many writers seem to think that Kentuckians sound like the Beverly Hillbillies.  Ann Gabhart captures the speech patterns and idioms of the area without causing her characters to become stereotypes.

A good book, a really good book, always has at least one sentence that causes you to stop and reread it; a sentence or phrase that stays in your head long after you have finished the book.  This book has such a sentence:  ”Even a beige kind of girl could wear red sometimes”.  I don’t know why that captured my attention so strongly, but it has stayed with me.

Anyone wanting clean, well-written historical fiction set in Kentucky will enjoy this novel.  You can be entertained and learn something at the same time.

5 stars

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Author and Revell/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”