These Healing Hills (2017) by Ann H. Gabhart is a very sweet stand-alone story. This novel was just released on September 5, 2017. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 360 pages in length. With a full-time job and a precocious five-year old at home, this novel took me four days to read. I received a free copy of this novel directly from the publisher, Revell of the Baker Publishing Group. In no way has this influenced my opinions of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are mine. I give this novel 5 STARS. This novel is a Christian Historical Fiction set right after WWII in Kentucky, and details the life and many adventures of a Frontier Nurse in the Appalachian Mountains.
About the Book
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.
This is the very first Gabhart novel that I have read, but it certainly will not be my last. These Healing Hills is an excellent story. It has everything a reader could want: well-written characters, amazing depictions of the Appalachian landscape, medical adventures, and a sweet love story.
Prior to reading this novel, I had never heard of the Frontier Nursing Service. What an amazing group of courageous and intelligent women. The main character in this novel is Francine, a brand new frontier nurse. The adventures she encounters as a nurse are some of the best written, highly engaging scenes in this book. The pages flew by whenever Francine was working with a patient. I was totally captivated! So much so, I had to take multiple breaks from the reading of this book in order to research actual Frontier Nurses. I spent hours reading about the adventures of these amazing women. So, if you pick this book up to read, just know you may take multiple breaks Google searching!
At the start of the novel, Francine is escaping her home because the man she believed she was engaged to during WWII came back with a new English fiancee. Totally crushed, she allows the Appalachian setting and people to help her overcome her sadness. As she grows in confidence as a frontier nurse, she slowly heals from her fiancee’s betrayal, and starts to fall for Ben Locke, a WWII medic newly returned from his four years overseas. Both Ben and Francine are excellently written. Their individual struggles over the course of the novel are authentic and realistic. What I love the most about these characters is that they both go to God when in doubt. Gabhart did an excellent job of illustrating that any mountain may be climbed as long as God is by your side. Totally love that this theme is constantly illustrated metaphorically via the Kentucky landscape, which really becomes a main character in and of itself.
I cannot say enough excellent things about this novel. It is fast-paced, highly engaging, excellently researched, and lovely. I will be thinking about the Frontier Nursing service, the Appalachian setting, and the characters from this novel long after I have posted this review. This novel has endeared itself to me, and I highly, highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed choosing this book as your next read!