An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart – Book Review, Preview

Posted July 10, 2020 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart – Book Review, Preview

An Appalachian Summer

by Ann H. Gabhart

Published by Revell
Publication Date June 30, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Kentucky Great Depression - US - 1929-1939
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
Pages: 360


Discover what happens when one intrepid young woman steps away from the past into a beautiful, wide-open future

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 is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open 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.

I would like to thank Netgalley, Revell for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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I have decided that it must be impossible to write about the Appalachian Mountains without infusing your story with the artistry, imagery, and music of nature. Or so it appears from the ones I have read. An Appalachian Summer continues this tradition with a vivid portrayal of the beauty of this place, along with the people and critters that inhabit it.

I loved being immersed in this world of the past on the verge of becoming the future. Modern and yet so foreign. A world where children are passed from stranger to stranger to bring them to a hospital for care. A world where women have the vote and yet are not expected to work outside the home. A world where the backwoods are still foreign and a little frightening.

The characters were wonderful! From spunky Piper and her aunt Truda to the arrogant Braxton Crandall (honestly, you can’t just call him Braxton!) to the gentle and playful Jamie to the colorful people of the mountains. They came alive and worked their way into my heart. I especially loved when Jamie was unexpectedly chaperoning little Thomas until he could be reunited with his family. The fact Jamie would have undertaken such a responsibility and the way he entertained the frightened young boy was heartwarming and fun!

The Frontier Nursing association was fascinating. To have young women out in an area where strangers were treated with suspicion and greeted with guns, traveling by themselves bringing medicine and messages to care for the women and children. Wow! And even better, this part of the story is not fiction.  While several births in the story were witnessed and described, the detail was appropriate and still in good taste.

One of my favorite aspects of An Appalachian Summer was the faith that was such an integral part of some of the characters. The kind of faith that couldn’t help but come out in their speech as they encouraged Piper to look beyond her actions into her heart to be certain that her relationship with the Lord was not mere knowledge. This was a quiet undercurrent of the story, a sure foundation that didn’t draw unnecessary attention to itself, and yet the story would not have been as strong without it.

Ann's An Appalachian Summer Pinterest Board

(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest)
  • Frontier Nurse Rose Evans Arriving at the Hamblin Family Home Premium Photographic Print at
  • Frontier Nursing Service, Wendover, KY.
  • Francesca Maggard photo. FNS nurse midwife. Anyone have other FNS memories or photos? Please email me. I would love to see …
  • Two young boys talking to Mary Breckenridge, Frontier Nursing Service, 1930. The photograph was taken at either Wendover, Kentucky or Hyde, Kentucky. (ULPA CS 115344 Caufield & Shook Collection, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville)
  • Frontier Nursing Service, Wendover, KY.
  • Mary Breckenridge (1881-1965), a nurse midwife. She founded the Frontier Nursing Service to provide maternity services to women in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky.  Nurses visited families on horseback.  This service significantly lowered the maternal mortality rate of the region served.
  • Nurses frequently transported patients from their homes to Hyden, Lexington, Louisville, or Cincinnati for further medical treatment. (#125646, Caufield & Shook Collection, Special Collections University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky)
  • Mardi Cottage, FNS, Hyden, KY, on Old Hospital Hill, 1974-75, photo by Sherrie Rice Smith
  • Frontier Nursing Service, Wendover, KY.
  • Frontier Nursing Service Courier3
  • Middle Fork of Kentucky River, Wendover, KY., FNS, Photo taken by Brad Smith, Franklin, WI, 2014
  • Kentucky
  • Dining room, Wendover Bed & Breakfast, Wendover, KY, 2014, Photo by Brad Smith.
  • Old Hyden Hospital laboratory, FNS, 1974-75, photo by Sherrie Rice Smith
  • My FNS uniform patch from 1974-75. Sherrie Rice Smith photo.
  • Thousand Sticks PO, Leslie County, KY
  • Frontier Nursing Service, Leslie County, KY.
  • Garden House rebuilt, Wendover, KY. FNS photo.
  • Red Bird Clinic, Red Bird, KY, photo taken of photo by Brad Smith, Franklin, WI, 2014

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