Ann Gabhart delivers another beautifully written story. The Gifted tells the story of Jessamine, a young woman who was sent to live in a Shaker community at the age of 10 after the grandmother who had raised her died. Jessamine’s vivid imagination and curiosity about the world outside the Shaker community are a continual source of problems. The strict rules of the community and the Shaker belief that the world is sinful contradict the early teachings of Jessamine’s grandmother who told her stories of God’s love as well as romantic love. After finding a wounded stranger in the woods Jessamine finds herself being tempted by the world even more.
The Shakers separated themselves from society much like the Amish. Each member in their society worked for the greater good of all. I found myself shocked by the way Jessamine was treated. The Shakers had members who watched to make sure their rules were followed and reported every infraction to those in authority. I couldn’t help feeling that most of their members had joined after unhappy marriages or bad family lives. A religion that basically forbids love and emotion felt cold and empty to me. The Shakers claimed they loved all their brothers and sisters equally but I found them to be judgemental with very little real concern for others.
I have found a new favorite author in Ann Gabhart. She has a gift of drawing her readers into the stories she weaves and The Gifted is a perfect example of her ability to bring realism to the characters in her books. This is a great book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, Christian fiction, or Christian romance.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a free Kindle copy of The Gifted through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of the book.