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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.”

Electric Pressure Cooker Beef Tacos #Instantpot #Multicooker #MagicChef

Instant Pot Beef Tacos

2-3 lb. beef chuck roast

4 C 7-Up

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

4 Tbsp lime juice

1 C chopped cilantro

flour tortillas

Chopped cilantro

chopped onion

Salsa Verde

Sour Cream

Place roast in cooker.  Sear (or saute) five minutes on each side.  Add next seven ingredients to cooker. After checking to make sure valve is set to seal, lock lid and and set on Manual for 70 minutes.  When natural release is finished, remove lid and shred beef.  Serve on tortillas with cilantro, onion, salsa verde, and sour cream toppings.

Music to Cook By . . . 

What I’m Reading. . . 


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  - Albert Camus

Until next time, Happy Cooking!  :)

Book Review: Gone Gull by Donna Andrews #stmartinspress

Gone Gull (Meg Langslow #21)

by Donna Andrews
Meg Langslow is spending the summer at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia run the studios. But someone is committing acts of vandalism, threatening to ruin the newly-opened center’s reputation. Is it the work of a rival center? Have the developers who want to build a resort atop Biscuit Mountain found a new tactic to pressure Cordelia into selling? Or is the real target Meg’s grandfather, who points out that any number of environmentally irresponsible people and organizations could have it in for him?

While Meg is trying to track down the vandal, her grandfather is more interested in locating a rare gull. Their missions collide when a body is found in one of the classrooms. Can Meg identify the vandal and the murderer in time to save the center’s name–while helping her grandfather track down and rescue his beloved gulls?

About the Author . . . 
Donna Andrews was born in Yorktown, Virginia, the setting of Murder with Peacocks and Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos, and now lives and works in Reston, Virginia. When not writing fiction, Andrews is a self-confessed nerd, rarely found away from her computer, unless she’s messing in the garden.
My Review . . . 
This is the 21st installment of a successful mystery series, and unfortunately, this is the first one I’ve read.  That made it difficult at times to keep up with characters and their back stories.  That being said, this is an engaging novel that held my interest to the end.  Most importantly, it passed the big test for a mystery novel:  I didn’t know who did it until the end.
I would definitely enjoy reading the rest of this series.
4 stars

Fried Chicken Tenders

Fried Chicken Tenders

  • 5-6 boneless chicken breasts
  • Crisco
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt

Heat enough Crisco that cast-iron skillet is half-full.  Beat eggs in large bowl.  Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Cut chicken breasts into long, narrow strips.  When shortening is heated to Medium High, dip chicken strip into egg wash, then dip into flour mixture until thoroughly coated.  Dip strip once more into egg wash and then coat with flour mixture.  Place strips in skillet.  Cook until lightly browned on each side.  Cover skillet with lid for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and cook until chicken tenders are crispy.  Drain on paper towels after removing.

Music to Cook By . . . 

What I’m  Reading….

Until next time, Happy Cooking!  :)

August, the summer’s last messenger of misery, is a hollow actor. –  Henry Rollins


Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

  • 2 cans green beans, drained
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir until lightly browned.  Stir in green beans and Seasoned Salt.  Cook about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and top with Parmesan cheese.


Music to Cook By . . . 


What I’m ReadinNow . . . 






The secret of getting ahead is getting started. –  Mark Twain