The Believer is the first book I have read by Ann H. Gabhart. If it is any indication of her writing skills, it probably won’t be the last. I was hooked from the very first page as she set the stage with Ethan’s early history and how he came to be a part of the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. I found the wealth of details about Shaker life to be enlightening but the true star was the story. Each primary character in The Believer is so richly developed that it is quite easy to become involved in their lives. Of particular note are Elizabeth, her younger sister , Brother Issachar, and Ethan.

When Elizabeth seeks refuge for herself and her younger brother and sister at Harmony Hill after her father’s death, she finds it hard to adjust to the strict rules and regulations and different beliefs embraced by the men and women of the religious community. To complicate matters, she is strongly attracted to Ethan who has a firm commitment to the Shaker faith. As winter progresses, each of them struggles with their mutual attraction and with their faith. Things are further complicated by several events that impact both their lives.

The Believer is both a historical novel and a romance but is also filled with conflict, suspense, and a serious look at personal faith and the importance of following the heart.


believerElizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But when she feels a strong attachment to a handsome young Believer named Ethan, life gets complicated. Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can’t shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him. Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or will Ethan’s love for her change their lives forever? Following on the heels of the successful book The Outsider, The Believer is Ann H. Gabhart’s newest exploration of love and devotion in this quiet Shaker community.


AnnGabhartLiving just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. Gabhart is also the author of Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy.

You can purchase a copy of The Believer here.