I love when you pick up a book by an author you’ve never read and end up loving it! Ann H. Gabhart is an author local to me. I currently live in Kentucky and she is a local celebrity with her books for sale in a small-town gift shop that I have perused and never picked up until “An Appalachian Summer” came along.
I was delighted with the story of debutante, Piper Danson, who left a life of comfort and luxury among the socially elite of Louisville, Kentucky during the height of the Great Depression for a summer of soul searching. Piper leaves behind a summer of courtship with the most eligible bachelor in Louisville, Braxton Crandall, to be a courier in the Appalachian Mountains with the Frontier Nursing Service.
Feeling stifled by her father’s expectations of an arranged marriage back home is what inspires Piper to chart a new path for herself. She struggles with the loss of her best friend and childhood love, Jamie Russell, who fled town with his mother and siblings after their family loses all of their estate during the Great Depression. Piper also considers the proposal from the handsome Braxton Crandall knowing it could afford her the financial security so many lacked during this difficult time.
Confused and unsure of what she really wants, she hears about the need for help with the Frontier Nursing Service from Mary Breckenridge who comes to town to raise funds for medical assistance in the mountains. Piper decides to join as a courier and take the summer to “do something different” and not have to think about Braxton or Jamie.
As a courier, she assists nurses who deliver babies to mothers in some of the most treacherous and rural parts of the mountainous region. Riding horses, cleaning stalls, killing chickens for dinner, and watching out for rattlesnakes is just a small portion of what Piper experiences on her adventurous summer.
But what she doesn’t expect to happen is just when she thought she was far enough away from it all, life happened to catch up with her there.
I don’t want to tell you what happens, you will have to read it for yourself.
What I love most about this story is that Piper is showcased as a strong female lead who doesn’t ever play the damsel in distress part that I come across in so many books. When she is faced with a challenge, she perseveres even in the face of fear. She isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in and is brave enough to try new things.
There is more than one love story weaved in and a strong sense of family and faith prevails throughout the pages.
I can’t wait to read more of Ann H. Gabhart’s work knowing the incredible storytelling will take me on a journey that will allow for a fun escape in a world that is COVID crazy.
If you are looking for a lighthearted summer read, I highly recommend “An Appalachian Summer”. You should look for it at your local inspirational bookstore or online wherever your favorite books are sold. You can get your copy here
(This book was given to me by Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)