Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Gifted by Ann H. Gabhart (Review)

By 1849, Jessamine Brady has been in the Shaker Village for half her life, but in spite of how she loves her sisters there, she struggles to
conform to the strict rules. Instead she entertains dreams of the world outside. When Tristan Cooper seems to step out of those dreams to entice her into the forbidden realm beyond the Shaker Village, her life turns upside down. Will Jessamine be able to survive the storms of the world? Or will she retreat back to the peace of Harmony Hill?

The thousands of loyal fans of Gabhart's Shaker novels will love this entrancing story of learning to trust the gifts God gives us and let him guide us through life.


The Gifted is full of a lot of detail about the Shaker lifestyle and I found that very interesting. I learned quite a lot about it and that was very nice! However, the story seemed too long and drawn out. I think the book would have been more enjoyable to me had it been about 100 pages shorter. Some books can be over 400 pages and just fly by leaving you wanting more, while other ones can take forever to get through. This book definitely falls into the latter category, as it took me over a month and a half to read! I would start it and within about 15 pages or so begin to get so bored with it that I had to stop reading it. When this happened over the course of a week, I decided to set it aside for awhile and come back to it later, thinking that maybe reading a different book and then going back would make a difference - it didn't. So I kept reading it in 10-20 page increments (if I hadn't, my rating would have probably been lower and that would have been unfair to the author because the book is well written - it just was not connecting with me).  After reaching the halfway point, I was able to read the rest almost straight through. The last 100 or so pages were very enjoyable, but the ending was just eh.

I enjoyed the way the story would switch from Jessamine's POV to Tristan's POV and then the occasional journal entry by Sister Sophrena - I loved those!

I liked Jessamine, she was such a lovable character. She reminded me a lot of Tammy from the movie Tammy and the Bachelor. Just like Tammy, Jessamine was very innocent/naive and trusting of people because she had led a very sheltered life - first being raised by her grandmother for the first 10 or so years of her life and then by the Shakers.

Tristan, on the other hand, I found very annoying because he seemed so weak willed. His mother wanted him to marry a woman from a wealthy family to help save the family's troubled business, but he wanted to marry for love. Instead of being firm about what he wanted, he kowtowed to his mother's wishes and courted Laura, while at the same time pining for Jessamine.

The people who lived in Harmony Hill were quite different from each other. Sister Sophrena was caring, she always seemed to want the best for Jessamine. Even when she had to bring up things that Jessamine did that were against their code, she did it with love and kindness. Sister Edna, on the other hand, was always quick to harp about every little thing she perceived Jessamine did wrong, while at times she was guilty of some of the same. Sometimes I just wanted to shake that Shaker! Edna was SO annoying!

The story seemed way too predictable to me. Even though the story tries to be vague about several things, I had a strong inkling who was behind the trouble and what the final outcome of the book was going to be (and I don't just mean what Jessamine was going to choose) - and for the most part I was correct. This might not have been such a big deal to me had it not seemed as though these things were supposed to be a surprise (or in some cases, a shock).

Though this book did not do it for me, I think people who love Shaker novels (and maybe even those that LOVE Amish books) will probably enjoy it. 

“Available July 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

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  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800734556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734558
  • Available to purchase at Amazon


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