Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review: The Seeker by Ann Gabhart

I have never read a book by Ann Gabhart before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I have read many fiction books about the Amish people, but none about the Shakers. I was curious to see what the author was going to say about this unusual group of people.

Seeker, The: A NovelThe Seeker is about Charlotte Vance, a young woman engaged to a man who decides he would rather join the Shakers, a religious group that forbids marriage. Charlotte decides to change his mind by following him to Harmony Hill, the community where the Shakers live and work. As Charlotte learns more about the Shakers and their strange ways and beliefs, her stepmother takes over the Vance family farm and tells everyone (including Charlotte's father) that Charlotte has gone to Virginia. Set in Kentucky during the 1860's, this book describes what life was like for those who found themselves in the midst of the turmoil of civil war.

I have to admit I had an uneasy feeling as I read this book, especially the passages that described the beliefs of the Shakers. I hoped that the author would make it more clear that these are not the teachings of the Bible, but of a woman who claimed to be the second coming of Jesus. They are fascinating to read about, but it's sad that they believe what they do.

This sounds like a place I would like to visit someday. I like Shaker furniture, and though I don't agree with much of their beliefs, I admire their skills and expertise in the work that they have done. And the simple life is quite attractive.

The plot is weak in some areas, and some of the characters (such as Charlotte's father) are under developed. However, the Shaker characters were interesting and varied. I especially like Sister Martha and the relationship between her and Charlotte. And while the romantic element is nice, it was too contrived. 

I give The Seeker 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

(I received this book from Revell Books for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Believer, The: A NovelThe Outsider: A NovelAnn Gabhart has written two other novels about the Shakers, The Outsider and The Believer. Both are published by Revell.

(Aren't the covers of these books absolutely beautiful?) 

By the way, here is a blog where they are having a giveaway for this book. Go check it out (and tell them I sent you!):
Also, other reviews of The Seeker:

1 comment:

Barbara M. said...

Thanks for the review.

I wish you were able to read the first two books in this series - it was made very clear that the Shaker beliefs went against Christianity. In fact, that's what most of the conflict was about in those books. And there was much more of the Shaker life depicted in them. I wonder if the author felt like she would be too redundant by the third book for so many readers who had read the whole series. It must be difficult for an author to give enough information in a third book to make it readable as a stand alone, without putting too much repeat information in for continuation of a series.

If you get the chance, read books 1 and 2. I think you might enjoy them more (and probably would have liked the 3rd one better). I would love to let you borrow mine but I got them at my Church Library.