A Horse, A Dog And A Saddlebag
These Healing Hills by Ann H Gabhart is the most delightful Christian historical romance. It is set in 1945 as the war in Europe ends. Fact blends with fiction as the reader learns about the Frontier Nursing Service.
War changes people. Not everyone in war brings harm. “He ain’t over there shooting people, but … he’s doing some healing too.” Medics still saw horrendous sights and needed a special healing of their own.
Home calls some. For others they run from their original home to find somewhere else where they belong. Home is where we feel at peace.
The mountains are a unique landscape, housing a unique people. Distrustful of strangers until they realise they mean no harm. They are the salt of the earth. They have a fine community spirit that pulls together, especially in the harsh winter months.
Frontier nursing was pioneer nursing… promised a horse, a dog and saddlebags, these young women were brave. Often working alone, in harsh conditions, these young women had to gain the trust of the locals. They had to trust themselves. And they had to trust that God would lead them at all times. “You don’t have to know the last step. Just the first one.” We can trust God even when the way seems unclear.
Prayers are important. “The Lord wasn’t in the wishing business. He answered prayers.” I loved the idea of walking prayers. It is comforting to know that Jesus is always near, especially in a hostile environment. “He’s [Jesus] always ready to bend down His ear to us.” In the wilderness, Jesus may be our only contact.
Names are important. A name change signifies either a role or character change.
I adored the characters. They were wonderfully drawn. Granny Em, with her wisdom and reliance on old traditions blended perfectly with the modern techniques of the nurses.
Life and death are inextricably linked. Every birth has the potential to go either way. The pressure on the nurses was great but “Life and death ain’t in your realm… You can’t hide from death.”
The reader is treated to detailed descriptions of the landscape as the mountains spring to life.
Animals played a key role. Their loyalty was beautiful to behold. The transformation from unwanted mutt to beloved companion really warmed my heart.
Ann H Gabhart is my new favourite author. She writes with a depth that opens up wonderful vibrant landscapes for the reader. Her characters were well drawn with detail and personality. They ‘felt’ like dear friends. I was educated too.
These Healing Hills is a fabulous story. I just could not put it down.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.