AUTHOR: Ann H. Gabhart
When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?
The Refuge is a gentle story of Darcie, a non-Shaker, who has no other choice but to stay with the kind but strict group at the village at Harmony Hill. Her angst is skillfully portrayed as she, a pregnant widow in a sect that considers marriage a sin, tries to live in harmony with the Sisters. But will they allow her to stay once her child is born? Or will they ostracize both mother and child? Or worse, take the child from her? Faith and fear collide, but Darcie holds fast to faith—with satisfying results.
The only negative aspect of this story is the villain, whom I felt was overdrawn and didn’t quite fit. I loved reading The Refuge and learning about the Shaker sect. This book earns four stars from me.
I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group.