THESE HEALING HILLS
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out -- until the man she loves announces his plans to bring home an English bride from war-torn Europe in 1945. 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 valure different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds...and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.
This book cast a spell over me. Enchanting. Captivating. Riveting. And the word-crafting! Sheer beauty! No skimming allowed -- you'll want to savor every single sentence.
Gabhart celebrates the life and culture of a proud mountain people with reverence and respect. Francine is just as enthralled as I am! Never mind that her nurse midwife mentor expects her to remain apart (really 'above') these simple hill folk. But Francine can see the beauty in that simplicity -faith, family and service. It brings her a unique sense of belonging which is a stark contrast to her sterile upbringing.
And then there's Ben. He's spent his years in the war aching to feel the mountain back under his feet but once he's home he finds himself yearning for something more. Especially when a certain 'brought-in nurse' keeps getting lost on his mountain. Sigh. Their love story is the perfect blend of laughter and uncertainty and oh-so-sweet-and-tender hope.
Some of my favourite parts in the book are the snippets of wisdom we get from the sage elders who played a significant role in Ben and Francine's lives. Things like this: "What was it his pa used to say when Ben started worrying a problem like a dog licking a sore? You don't have to know the last step. Just the first one. You and the Lord can figure out the rest of it on the way." (p 218) I've got that written out on a card and taped to my wall now -- I'm in desperate need of enough faith to trust that 'the Lord and I can figure out the rest' in many areas of my life. And this book is full of sage takeaways like that.
There's a quality in the storytelling that stays with a reader long after the last page has been read. Definitely one of my favourite novels of 2017.
Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of These Healing Hills, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTCA. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday November 12 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!