These Healing Hills Guest Post

  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
Guest Post Image
Photo of Services at the Pentecostal Church of God. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky in September 1946
(This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official dutiesunder the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.)
The Accent on Mountain Speak
by Ann H. Gabhart

Have you ever had somebody tell you that you speak with an accent? Maybe they even guessed where you were from by the way you talked. I’ve had that happen to me when I don’t think I have that much of an accent. Certainly not the Southern drawl you hear farther south in Mississippi or to the west in Texas or the very different accent you might hear from a Bostonian. But I suppose I do talk Kentucky country. One of the definitions of accent in the Merriam Webster dictionary is “a way of speaking typical of a particular group of people and especially of the natives or residents of a region.”

When I decided to write a story set in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains, I knew for sure the people there had a distinctive accent, but until I started researching the area, I didn’t know they had so many colorful expressions or different ways to describe common things. I was fortunate to already have in my possession The Wolfpen Notebooks, A Record of Appalachian Life by James Still. While Still didn’t grow up in the mountains, he came to the mountains as a young man and spent over fifty years there listening to and celebrating the mountain people in his stories. He jotted down anything he overheard that seemed unique to the region and eventually compiled those sayings into the book I bought from him at a book fair. So, all these years later, after he and many of the speakers he recorded have passed on, I got to eavesdrop on the mountain people talking to one another and get a feel for the mountain vernacular as I began getting to know my mountain characters in These Healing Hills.
To add color to my story and make my Appalachian characters come to life, I let them use many unusual expressions you might have heard in the hills back in 1945, the time period of my story. My mountain people spoke of the “edge of dark” when talking about night falling. If they wanted to get out and start early on a job or to go someplace, they needed to get a “soon start.” If they had no horse available and had to walk somewhere, they went “shanks-mare.” Their vegetable gardens were “sass patches” and the vegetables “sass.” Perhaps one of the more unusual expressions was to say someone was “killed” when they were only wounded. That last oftentimes had a way of confusing the Frontier Nurse midwives when someone would show up at their clinics asking them to hurry to treat someone who had been “killed.” If the nurse said they couldn’t help, then the person fetching them would say they didn’t mean the person was “killed dead.”
When I brought my character, Fran Howard, to the mountains from the city to go to the Frontier Nursing Midwifery School in Hyden, Kentucky, I let her appreciate the mountain vernacular and the mountain ways. Of course, to the mountain folk, she was the one with an accent and different ways. City ways. One of the first unique expressions she heard was that she was one of Mary Breckinridge’s “brought-in” women there to learn to “catch babies.” Mary Breckinridge was the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service and she did bring in nurse midwives from all over with many of the early midwives from England before she established the midwifery school in Hyden in 1939. You can imagine what the Kentucky mountaineers thought about the nurses’ English accents.
We all like to hear what people say and how they say it. That is true in our everyday lives, and just as true when we’re reading a novel. How a character talks and what he or she says is especially important in helping a fictional person spring to life off the pages of a book and become real in the imagination of a reader. So finding a character’s distinctive voice can add richness to a story.
Salting the mountain speak throughout my story helped add a little extra seasoning to the atmosphere of the story and the dialogue of my characters. Fran found the language of the mountain folks poetic and I hope readers will feel the same while reading These Healing Hills.

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)


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