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Novelist Ann Gabhart, celebrated for her historical novels, weaves a new story from the Depression era in her latest work, Angel Sister: A Novel (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3381-0, February 2011, $14.99). Growing up, Gabhart’s mother and aunts told many stories about the small community where they lived in Alton, Kentucky, including tales about the odd characters who lived in Alton. “Despite the hard times and some interesting personalities, what came through to me so clearly was the way those people in that small town cared for one another. My mother’s stories left a huge impression on me and planted the seed in my imagination that became Angel Sister,” says Gabhart.
Ann H. Gabhart is the award-winning, bestselling author of several books about the Shakers, including The Believer, The Outsider and The Seeker. Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village and one mile from the place she was born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, she has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past.
If you enjoy reading stories that are set in the depression era as much as I do, you’ll be happy to get your hands on Angel Sister.
This is my favorite Ann Gabhart book to date and I like that she based the characters in this book very loosely on her own family.
The Merritts are a hardworking family hit by the woes of the depression and the war. Victor Merritt fights haunting memories from the war and finds solace in a bottle. Nadine, his wife, doesn’t have the energy anymore to try and hold her family together and leaves most of that responsibility to their middle daughter, Kate. I felt sorry for Kate all through this book because at 14 years of age, she has more responsibility than the adults in her life. Her sisters get out of their responsibility by sticking their heads in the sand and shirking their duties. The weight of the world is always on Kate's shoulders and yet she just keeps trying to be the glue that keeps her family functioning.
When the Merrits’ least expect it and are struggling to keep everything together, a little girl shows up in their life, alone and apparently abandoned. Five-year-old Lorena is a breath of fresh air and a balm for their weary souls.
As much as the Merrits’ need her and she needs them, there is some question as to whether or not they will be allowed to keep her until her real parents show up. Kate in particular forms a unique bond with little Lorena and is heartbroken at the thought of not being able to keep Lorena in her care. The anticipation of what was going to happen to Lorena, kept me turning the pages and this was a very hard book to put down.
I like how the story ebbs and flows between the present and the past and the way Ann writes the back story of how Victor and Nadine met and fell in love. There are many interesting characters in this book and also some complex issues which make for an interesting read.
“Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
This book was provided free for review by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
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A Little Girl Abandonded on the Church Steps
Awaiting her Angel…
“You have to be an angel.” said Lorena. “Why do I have to be an angel?” asked Kate. “Because mommy said that if I sat here and didn’t cry an angel would come and take care of me…” said Lorena.
It is 1936 and Kate Merritt, the middle child of Victor and Nadine, works hard to keep her family together during the Great Depression. While her father tries to come to grips with their situation and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to it, it is Kate who must shoulder the emotional load. Who could imagine that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what the Merritts need?
In this richly textured novel, award-winning author Ann H. Gabhart reveals the power of true love, the freedom of forgiveness, and the strength to persevere through troubled times. Multidimensional characters face real and hard-hitting problems while maintaining their family bonds, all against the backdrop of a sultry Kentucky summer. Readers will be drawn into the story and find themselves lingering there long after they’ve finished the book.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.
For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.