Ann H. Gabhart is the author of the successful Shaker-inspired novel The Outsider. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels.
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By Ann H. Gabhart
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-3362-9
394 Pages

Back Cover: Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited: she can give in to the unwanted advances of an odious landowner—or she can flee.

When Elizabeth hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But life gets complicated when she find herself attracted to a handsome young Believer named Ethan.

Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything about sisters, but he can’t shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him.

Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or could Ethan’s love for her change their lives forever?

REVIEW: “Shakers got their name from their worship style. They sometimes get so stricken by a feeling from the spirit that their bodies shake or they whirl about in a sort of dance.” This author’s curiosity for this religious sect grew as she walked down some of the streets of a restored Shaker community about thirty miles from her home in Kentucky. The Shakers never turned away someone in need. They were generous with there food and providing a roof over the travelers head in exchange for hard work in the community.

“The worldly-joining of a man and women in marriage causes much strife. That is why we live a life of purity here at Harmony Hill without the sin of matrimony to cause problems among us.” This is the Shakers view of marriage.

Since they believed in taking a vow of celibacy the only way their community could grow was by taking outsiders into their group in hopes they would accept their ways and stay. Everyone had a story to tell about how they arrived at Harmony Hill. Ethan Boyd was six when he was found by Issachar, who saved his life and brought him into the Shaker community to be raised.

Elizabeth Duncan sought help from the Shaker village to escape matrimony. It was a safe place to bring her siblings since the Shakers thought matrimony was a sin. But the longer Elizabeth lived there she realized she wasn’t ready to live there forever and have everyone be your brother and sister. She wouldn’t see her real brother and sister for days because of the work details. .

The believer is a sequel to the Outsider! Again, Ann spins a tale that grabbed my heart strings when I saw the struggle these young ones were having living by the law—which was easy when their emotions didn’t get in the way! That’s what communal living was all about. No feelings. Everyone was the same. No heart felt conversations—everything was done in a group!! No one was on a one to one relationship with anyone else. That was forbidden. What was the truth? Ethan and Elizabeth were both in a desperate search of it. Their minds were not in harmony with their hearts.

This author captures the time period and the point of view of a soul awakening to what the real mission in life is for them. It wasn’t about a religion but a relationship with God and with each other?

Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction
Book Club Servant Leader


What will happen when forbidden feelings of love begin to arise?
Celebrated novelist Ann H. Gabhart delivers another fascinating historical romance
that takes readers into the life—and sacrifices—of the Shaker community.The Shakers are remembered today for their minimalist, understated aesthetics. One thing they are not remembered for is their love stories. That’s because the religious values of the Shakers required they practice celibacy so that they could concentrate their energies on work and worship. This devotion sparked the interest of author Ann H. Gabhart, who lives only miles from a restored Shaker village.

As she learned more about the lives and beliefs of Shaker communities, which flourished during the early 1800s, Gabhart began imagining what might happen if feelings of love were awakened within the community. The Believer is Ann H. Gabhart's newest exploration of love and devotion in this quiet Shaker community in 19th century Kentucky.


  1. What a great title for your blog - Finding Hope through Fiction. I do believe that is possible and have often had my spirits lifted by reading a great book.

    Thanks so much for reading my book, The Believer, and for your kind review. I enjoyed writing about Ethan and Elizabeth and their journey with the Shakers. Hope you are blessed with many good books to read.

  2. I was privileged to spend a day at a Shaker Village in New Hampshire. I fell in love with their ways. Each house had a number, each room a letter, then each drawer in each room was numbered so they could tell a child to "Get the scissors in drawer 4, in room 2, in house 6 for me, please." A place for everything and everything in it's place. They also believed in switching jobs every month so no one got bored and women would do men's jobs and vice versa. Thus a Shaker man invented the flat-faced broom we use today, while a woman invented the circular saw.