AUTHOR: Ann H. Gabhart
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII's end writes to tell her he's in love with a woman in England. 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.
“Francine Howard stepped off the bus into another world.” With this first sentence, I experienced Francine’s discomfort as she began her new life with the Frontier Nursing Service in the Appalachian Mountains, and as the story continued, her bravery and gutsiness impressed me more and more. I loved that she wasn’t perfect; she had a terrible sense of direction and got lost at the most inopportune times. But her grandmother Howard had instilled a strong faith in her, and she leaned on God’s promises to see her through.
Ben Locke is a worthy hero, wounded by war physically and emotionally but determined to care for his family somehow. The hesitant romance between Fran and Ben was written with warm sensitivity, and the Appalachian sayings charmed me. Granny Em, the eccentric old mountain woman, spoke straight to my heart. “Careful don’t get you nothing in this life. You remember that, girl.” Took my breath away!
These Healing Hills is a wonderful story based on a real program in the early 1920s. I loved visiting the mountains and the people inhabiting them, thanks to the author. This delightful, charming story earns five stars. I received a copy of this book from the publisher.