My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Love is everything. From the love between the two romance seeking main characters. To the man who couldn’t love a woman and found his escape in a Shaker colony. The love of a father, a brother, and a daughter. The love of strangers for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War was powerful enough to keep the meals coming, at the risk of starving a whole colony through the winter.
I loved the character Charlotte. When she ran away from her Southern Plantation to a Shaker colony, I thought she was a coward, but when she used the opportunity to better understand herself, my affections returned. Adam Wade was every girl’s dream: good-looking, rugged, and a very talented artist. The author’s descriptions of his art made the reader feel like she was looking right at each masterpiece. Who says a picture speaks more than the written word? You would have never guessed this when reading this book. Each fictional sketch took on a life of its own for me, just as each character did.
Learning about the Shakers’ beliefs was secondary to a look into the state of the nation during the Civil War. Did those Confederate soldiers really chicken out like that in that first battle? How did that get past me all these years?
The Shakers ability to love was inspiring, as was Charlotte’s love and devotion to a helpless little boy…even when his own mother was a horrendous example of motherhood. Perhaps the greatest love story of all was the freeing of beloved slaves. I get teary just thinking of the fictional characters as their faces glowed with liberty for the first time in their lives.
I can’t wait to read some more of Gabhart’s books.