These Healing Hills By Ann H. Gabhart

As I have mentioned in past reviews, I love historical fiction, medicine, midwifery, and the Appalachian people. This book checks all those boxes! To say the least I was excited to start reading it, but I had no idea incredible writing skills of Ms. Gabhart!
I had never heard of the Frontier Nursing Services before reading this book. The character Breckinridge was a real person and founder. The author read these midwife’s real first-person accounts of their services. This gave the book the realism and authenticity that allows the reader to experience the unique lifestyles of the Appalachian families and the experiences of the nurses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the unusual Appalachian words and sayings! I found them very clever and entertaining. Ms. Gabhart’s research not only made the people in the story come to life, but also gives a deep glimpse into the mind, personality, beliefs, and strength of these amazing people. After reading the book, the term “hillbillies” is such a derogatory term to assign to these incredible Appalachians.
After Fran hears the man she thought was to be her husband is coming home engaged to an English girl, all her plans go up in smoke. Her dreams of being a wife and mother are shattered. Her overbearing, critical mother isn’t very sympathetic.
When she hears of the midwife training in the hills of Kentucky she feels this is where she needs to be. She falls in love with the hills, the mountain people, and the many challenges of “catching babies” and tending to varied medical emergencies.
Ben belonged to the hills but had been away at war serving as medic. Much had changed in the years he had gone, most of all, his father’s death. Part of him wants to stay and the other wants to use the GI Bill to further his education. He meets Fran and his feelings for her only add to his confusion.
I liked the way I could see the mountains through Ben’s eyes, his appreciation and depth of having grown up there, but it was also a delight to see them through Fran’s. She observed everything with freshness, newness and innocence. It was her observations of both mind and heart that made me feel a part of the hardships, difficult weather and learning to live a totally new way of life.
I cannot pick a favorite character, they were all delightful. The book has romance, suspense, adventure, and humor. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read more writings by Ms. Gabhart!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

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