07 September 2017

Read the Character Interview & ENTER TO WIN! "These Healing Hills" by Ann Gabhart

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  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
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Bestselling Author Transports Readers to the Appalachian Mountains for Adventure and Healing

Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With 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.

While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities. 

Praise for These Healing Hills:

“Reading These Healing Hills is like wrapping up in a beloved quilt and stepping back in time. Ann H. Gabhart captures a fascinating slice of Appalachian history in this tale of a mountain midwife and a soldier, bringing it to life as only a native Kentuckian can. Poignant and romantic, witty and wise, with enduring spiritual truths, this is my favorite novel of hers to date.”
—Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

“What a wonderful story! Filled with true-to-life characters (including some four-footed ones) and fascinating historical details, These Healing Hills is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of life in the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the Second World War. Ann Gabhart combines vivid descriptions, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of the human heart to create a story that will linger in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. This is a book to savor, not just once, but over and over. A true keeper.”
—Amanda Cabot, bestselling author of A Stolen Heart

“Ann H. Gabhart delivers a rich tale set in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the close of World War II. Francine buries the painful loss of the man she loves beneath the difficult work of a frontier nurse-midwife. The mountain people touch a place deep in her heart, and she gladly sacrifices the life she always wanted in order to serve them. But can she ever be truly happy among the hills and hollows where modern medicine often gives way to ancient folk cures? These Healing Hills is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story that I highly recommend.”
—Virginia Smith, bestselling author of The Amish Widower

“You are sure to enjoy this endearing story of love lost and found in the enchanting hills of Kentucky.”
—Jan Watson, author of the Troublesome Creek series

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Character Interview with Francine Howard
from These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart

Tell us a little about yourself and this story you have to tell.

My name is Francine Howard. Before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered the war, I had my life all planned out. I would marry Seth and we’d have a typical family of three or four children. But the war changed everything. Seth went off to fight overseas. I still thought we would marry when the war ended, but then Seth fell in love with an English beauty. I had no chance against her. I had become a nurse with the idea of helping with the war effort but after my father died, my mother couldn’t bear me leaving home. Things change though. She remarried and I decided to leave Cincinnati behind and find a new start as a midwife with the Frontier Nursing Service. That was the best decision I ever made. A person can just wallow in her unhappiness or go out and chase a new brand of happiness. That’s what I did by coming to the Appalachian Mountains to learn to be a nurse midwife.

How did you find out about the Frontier Nursing Service?

A representative of the Frontier Nursing Service came to our hospital to recruit students for the midwifery school in Hyden, Kentucky. But at that time, I already had my life planned. Marriage. Children. A house in Cincinnati. But with those plans broken, I remembered the FNS flyer posted on the bulletin board at the hospital.
I know how to ride a horse. I like dogs and what nurse wouldn’t like the idea of saving children’s lives. Suddenly the Frontier Nursing Service seemed to be just the change I needed with the promise of adventure as a plus. And so I wrote to Mary Breckinridge at the address given and received an application to fill out.

Why did you want to be a midwife?

As a nurse, my favorite place to work in the hospital was with the new mothers and babies. Caring for the sweet little ones seemed more a blessing than work. Of course, I really didn’t know much about the midwifery part when I headed to Hyden to enroll in the Midwifery School, but I felt confident I could capably do the nursing part of the job and learn how to deliver babies. Going into the patients’ homes instead of seeing them in an office or hospital is certainly different. A nurse midwife could tell many stories about situations in her patients’ cabins or about going through flooded rivers, snowstorms, washed out trails, blackberry vines all the while trying to avoid snakes and rockslides and whatever other dangers come along. But bringing a new baby into the world is worth any danger or trouble I might face.

What do you like best about the mountains?

I love the sight of the mountains rising around me. They are very old mountains and worn down through the millions of years since they were formed, but they still present beautiful vistas. They
wrap around a person and hold you there with their beauty. But even more I like the people. I like their independence, their love of family, the way they make music, and of course, how they love their mountain homes.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Leslie County and why?

That has to be Granny Em. She roams all through the hills looking for herbs and roots to make healing concoctions. In the past, doctors were few and far between in the mountains and so the people often looked to healers and “granny midwives” like Granny Em to treat them for their various ailments and help their babies come into the world. Granny Em reminds me of my Grandmother Howard who shared her Christian faith with me. Granny Em doesn’t do that, but she helps me hear the rhythm of the mountains and shares her folk wisdom with me.

Do you just deliver babies?

Oh heavens, no. We do catch babies, which is how the mountain people describe us assisting with births, but we also treat the children for all sorts of ailments and accidents. The adults too. We might bandage up a gunshot wound, treat a child for worms, check an expectant mother, treat pneumonia and every other thing you can think of on Clinic Day when the mountain people line up at our outpost clinics for treatment. But delivering those babies is why we’re here. Mrs. Breckinridge, the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service, had a vision of making a positive difference in the health of mothers and children in the mountains and she made it happen. I’m glad to be part of that difference.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. 


Grand Prize:
Copy of These Healing Hills + The Kentucky Snack Basket (11 items including a Derby Pie Tart, Bourbon Pecan Brittle, Bourbon Chocolates, Spiced Pretzels, Modjeskas, Coffee, Snack Mix, Candy Bar, Caramel Corn, and a Horseshoe from Churchill Downs!)
First Runner-Up:
Copy of These Healing Hills + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Second Runner-Up:
Copy of These Healing Hills + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
September 5 - 14, 2017
(U.S. Only)

Character Interview
Guest Post
Scrapbook Page
Author Interview

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  1. Thanks for letting Francine stop by to talk about the mountains and more. Fun times for These Healing Hills.

    1. Hi, Ann! It was a true pleasure hosting you and Francine on Books & Broomsticks today! Thank you so much for stopping by for a cup of tea and a chat! ~Belle