AUTHOR: Ann H. Gabhart
In 1933 Louisville, Kentucky, even the ongoing economic depression cannot keep Piper Danson's parents from insisting on a debut party. After all, their fortune came through the market crash intact, and they've picked out the perfect suitor for their daughter. Braxton Crandall can give her the kind of life she's used to. The only problem? This is not the man--or the life--she really wants.
When Piper gets the opportunity to volunteer as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains for the summer, she jumps at the chance to be something other than a dutiful daughter or a kept wife in a loveless marriage. The work is taxing, the scenery jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open up a whole new world to her. The longer she stays, the more an advantageous marriage slips from her grasp. But something much more precious--true love--is drawing ever closer.
Before reading These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart, I hadn’t heard of the Frontier Nursing Service in the Appalachian Mountains begun by a real-life heroine, Mary Breckinridge. The author wove a wonderful story into the fabric of history in the first book, so when An Appalachian Summer became available, I grabbed the chance to read it.
This tale focusses on Piper, who in a spurt of courage mixed with desperation, volunteers to be a courier for the Frontier Nursing Service. As an accomplished rider who loved caring for horses, Piper figured she could easily manage a summer of riding and other menial chores in the mountains. Little does she know how the experience will stretch her! For a young woman of society, mountain life is a huge shock.
Piper is a plucky young lady, and I greatly admired her willingness to try whatever was asked of her. The other couriers, Miss Breckinridge, and especially the people of the mountains made this story come alive. The setting is a character in itself, with its steep trails, wild weather, and gorgeous scenery. Faith plays an integral part in this tale, as Piper learns to trust God in every circumstance.
I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing and Graf-Martin Communications. I loved An Appalachian Summer and award it five stars. Highly recommended!