Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Believer by Ann H. Gabhart - MY REVIEW

“There are many things that can trip us up as we go through life. And while it could be that you should pay somewhat more attention to those you can easily step over, even so you will find no way to avoid every obstacle along your path. The thing is to not let a little stumble stop you. Just run on, Brother Ethan. There is much to discover.” (p. 317)

The Believer, Ann Gabhart’s latest novel, is a story that explores the roadblocks and stumbling stones of life in an innovative and unique way by using the Shaker religion of the early 1800’s as the backdrop of a very unusual relationship. Ethan is a man who literally floated into the community at the age of six when he escaped from a deranged man claiming to be his father. Elizabeth is a woman who seeks refuge in the Shaker community for herself and her younger brother and sister in an effort to escape a deranged suitor. When their paths cross amid the suffocating rules of the Shaker community they must determine for themselves what it means to be a Believer.

Both Ethan and Elizabeth had adults in their lives prior to coming to the Shaker community who practiced strong faith in God’s word and His willingness and ability to provide direction in every situation. Those early beliefs prove to be the key that unlocks their heart and mind to explore the true meaning of being a believer in God. Their discoveries and conclusions take them along some difficult paths, and their ultimate destination seems ever more uncertain as the story continues. Whether or not they will be able to overcome the stumbling blocks in their path is something you will have to read the book to discover.

I was very unfamiliar with the Shaker religion of the early 1800’s. Ann Gabhart includes a lot of information about this bizarre religious sect as she tells her story, and it was kind of interesting. However, I admit that I got kind of tired of going over the same ground again and again about their never ending need to confess and their insane struggle against “committing matrimony.” I felt sorry for the poor folks trapped in this cult-like environment and was ever so thankful that there was one “Brother” who encouraged Ethan and Elizabeth to follow their heart.

The Believer contained interesting historical information, but the story line was pretty slow and the romantic struggle seemed to just drag on needlessly. I kept wanting to tell the people to get out of town and don’t look back. But, that’s just me I guess. I praise GOD that I never had to suffer under a delusional religious cult but was able to learn the truth of God’s Word all of my life. I hope readers of this series see the Shaker religion for the lie that it is and realize that the truth of God’s Word and the power of Christ’s death on the cross is the only way to eternal life.

Please visit the publisher’s website to learn more about this The Believer. Ann’s other book featuring the Shaker community – The Outsider – was nominated for an award, so don’t let my opinion deter you from trying this talented writer. I just let the Shaker nuttiness spoil the story I guess.


Florinda said...


Your blog has been nominated for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) Award, and we need your contact into! Please e-mail me at 3.rsblog AT Gmail DOT com (TODAY if possible) with your preferred e-mail address, so we can send you some info regarding your nomination.


for the BBAW Awards

Andi said...

I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who had trouble with this book.

Ann H Gabhart said...

Thanks, Kim for reading my book and doing a review. Not everybody can like the same things, but I appreciate you promoting Christian fiction in your blog.