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 value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.
I’ve always liked an Ann Gabhart novel. I expect to enjoy this new title by her just as well.
Ann Gabhart takes us back to her beloved Kentucky for a story of redemption and new life. There’s an unwritten rule that the women in the Frontier Nursing Service should maintain a respectful distance from the people they serve, but Fran develops a rapport with young Woody Locke on her first day. That soon extends to his family, including his mother, younger sister, and older brother Ben. Geographically challenged on the forested trails, she comes to rely on the Locke family for guidance and they also introduce her to the various mountain traditions. Her primary duty is that of midwife, but she treats everything from coughs to gun shots.
These Healing Hills is a lovely book, with descriptions over which I wanted to linger. It details the change of seasons, from the heat of July when Fran arrives to the blizzards of her first winter. There are sharp contrasts between the Ohio city, where Fran grew up, and the remote location of her calling. It’s represented in the people: her mother is pretentious and disdaining of those not in their class, while Grammy Em lives simply and uses natural resources for her medicinal remedies. One thing that struck me was that, while the novel takes place in 1945, the area appeared stuck in the Depression. Poverty was widespread, with homes little more than shacks and shoes being a rarity.
If there was anything in which I was disappointed, it was the ending. I felt it was somewhat abrupt, as though all that mattered was a resolution of the romantic angle. But I wanted to know more, which I can’t detail here because that would spoil the story line for you. Nevertheless, I enjoyed These Healing Hills and can recommend it.
Thank you to Revell for my complimentary copy of These Healing Hills, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read These Healing Hills? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 05 September 2017
Page Count: 368