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These Healing Hills

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  657 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII's end writes to tell her he's in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought furthe
Paperback, 361 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published September 2017)
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4.34  · 
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What a delightful tale! Francine’s whole heart is longing for a useful place to call home, after her mother’s long effort of trying to cut Francine down to the size of the mold of her mother’s ambitions. The new venture of becoming a mountain nurse-midwife (She does much more than simply catch babies, thus the “nurse” part) is her effort at finding freedom to make her own choices in life. Kentucky Appalachia in 1945 is represented in charming and not-so charming detail. I also liked the parts th ...more
These Healing Hills is the story of a nurse who left her comfortable home to “catch babies” and aid the people of the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains. Despite her supervisor’s and mother’s warnings to not get too close to her neighbours, Francine finds that the mountains and its people- particularly one soldier- are capturing her heart.

I was hoping for something with the same charm as The Heart of Hollyhill series or Angel Sister, and it did not disappoint! I felt like I was right there in the m
4.5 stars.

I suppose stories about midwives, the Appalachian Mountains, frontier and family life, and slow, tender romances just touch my heart. These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart was a beautiful novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Set during the end and aftermath of World War II, this book introduces us to frontier nurse/midwife, Francine Howard, and soldier, Ben Locke, who's a native to the mountains. Besides our two main characters, who both quickly endeared themselves to me, we meet many other
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's so nice to read a book that catches human nature so well. The gentleness, yet straight-forward characteristic of the mountain people in this book is so refreshing. Fran and Ben's romance may not be extremely different from many others, but the setting and the background creates something incredibly unique and special.

This took me several days to read only because I wanted to savor every scene. It's a slow story that must be read carefully, although there were several intense/action-filled s
Francine Howard had her life planned out. She was going to marry her high school sweetheart, Seth, when he returned from WWII, make a home, and start a family. But when Seth's sister revealed that he is coming home with a girl from England, Francine is devastated and embarrassed. Already having trained as a nurse, she volunteers for the Frontier Nursing Service in the mountains of Kentucky to receive training to be a midwife. Having been raised in Cincinnati, and discouraged by her mother not to ...more
Linda Klager
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great story situated in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky! I loved hearing about the adventures of a young midwife nurse. Oh, how much Francine learned while helping to "catch babies", the term mountain people use when a baby is born. It was very interesting how this author explained the life of these people. Also the author talked about the beauty of the land. I could picture how gorgeous, but how difficult it would have been without modern conveniences that we take for granted.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, christian
These Healing Hills is a delightful historical romance novel. The descriptive writing firmly places the reader in the gorgeous scenery and amongst the friendly people of the Appalachian Mountains. It was wonderful to sink into this story and journey with Fran and Ben as they overcome the obstacles before them, each find a place to call home, and find peace.

Francine Howard didn't start her life looking for adventure, but when her fiancé writes home from the war to tell her he has found someone el
Karen R
A wonderful story full of colorful characters and fun dialogue, an instant add to my favorites list! Set in 1945 Kentucky, in the Appalachian Mountains, featuring the brave women of the Frontier Nursing Service.

I loved the people in this story, especially the locals who Fran met in her visits, and the aspect of midwifery in 1945. The history of the FNS was fascinating, and had such a positive impact on the health of the people. The difficulty of travelling all over on horseback over rough terra
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i am a huge fan of Gabhart's cozy mysteries, but haven't read very many of her historicals. When I was offered a chance to review THESE HEALING HILLS I thought I'd give it a try. Recently my son graduated from A school for the Coast Guard and we drove through "these hills" and saw how massively huge they are. It gives new appreciation to these "pioneer" nurse midwives who traveled them on foot and on horseback to "catch babies" or see to sick women and children.

The story is rather slow, easy to
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-a-copy
Sent to me for an early review - Another "can't put down " story - Set in the mountains of KY after WWII - Nurse/mid-wife - plently of action, romance, heart warming story - characters come to life -
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful historical fiction novel. The characters are extremely well done and the mountain areas of Kentucky are written about so beautifully that the reader feels like they are there when reading this book.

The year is 1945 and Francine has just found out that the man she planned to marry after he came back from fighting in Europe is bringing home his English fiancee. She doesn't want to deal with this heartache so she joins The Frontier Nursing Service to learn to be a nurse-midwife
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Being from Kentucky this was a great book. I loved the vivid descriptions and the way Gabhart took me book to the mountains.

The characters were so easy to love, will most of them were. I enjoyed going home in this heartwarming read.

You are going to get lost in the mountains with Fran and like me you just might enjoy it.

Well crafted read and you are going to be left wanting more. I loved the ending. I just might be Gabharts biggest fan.

This is a 5 star two times read! I HIGHLY recommend this bo
These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Kindle
Timeframe: 1945
Location: Appalachian hills, Kentucky
Francine Howard: Nurse, beginning midwife training
Ben Locke: Medic returning from WWII to Kentucky hills
Woody Locke : Ben’s talkative young brother
Mary Breckinridge: Founder of Frontier Nursing Service
Granny Em: Elderly wise-woman and healer
Betty Dawson: Stoic nursing teacher from New York

Francine’s “intended” writes from England near the end of WWII to say h
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading this for possible endorsement and fell in love with the story from the first page. Here's my endorsement.

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 hum
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book cast a spell over me. Enchanting. Captivating. Riveting. And the word-crafting! Sheer beauty! No skimming allowed -- you'll want to savor every single sentence.

Gabhart celebrates the life and culture of a proud mountain people with reverence and respect. Francine is just as enthralled as I am! Never mind that her nurse midwife mentor expects her to remain apart (really 'above') these simple hill folk. But Francine can see the beauty in that simplicity -faith, family and service. It bri
Christian Fiction Addiction
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am never happier than when I crack the cover of a historical fiction novel and encounter a piece of history I've never heard of before. Such was the case with "These Healing Hills", and learning about the Frontier Nursing Service that operated in the Appalachian Mountains, offering midwifery nursing care (or digging out bullet wounds for that matter!) The author has done a great job at bringing the Mountains to life, capturing their beauty along with the strength of the people who lived there. ...more
Maureen Timerman
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I really found myself rooting for young Francine Howard as she began her new career as a baby catcher, or midwife, in the mountains of Kentucky.
The author made those mountains so alive with word pictures that I found myself crossing the creeks, and going over the rocks. Such a great story, with the end WWII we are with the veterans and those left behind. Most of all we meet the mountain people and you will really fall in love with some of these unforgettable individuals.
Will our girl end up loos
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I have ever been disappointed in an Ann Gabhart book. She is one of my favourite authors and These Healing Hills proved once again why.

In These Healing Hills, she created pictures so vivid I felt like I was watching a movie. That is the work of a great writer. It was easy to see the "mountain people" who Fran grew to love and to see why a city gal would stay. Ms Gabhart's characters are well developed and seemed to jump off the paper (or Kindle in my case) and become so real you di
Sydney Young
"No one comes here by accident." --Frontier Nurse Saying

I loved this book. And, much like the mantra of the frontier nurses, I know I didn't come to it by accident, either. In fact, I rather think that anyone who is compelled to read this book will come away feeling the same. After all, when looking for inspirational fiction, the title itself accurately portrays what a reader will encounter with this story: new starts after a time of reflection, and lives that encounter healing after hardship, w
Susan Snodgrass
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII's end writes to tell her he's in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he's at a loss when it
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really did enjoy this book!! I think it's one of Ann's best yet!!.
I enjoyed it so much because of the Kentucky backdrop.
I enjoyed learning about the mountain people and their ways. I laughed at Fran for some of the things she said and did. I thought she fit in rather well and she didn't really have to try very hard to do it.
I fell in love with Woody because of his energy!! I wish I had a bundle like him!
I almost felt sorry for Ben. Ben has seen and done things that he didn't want to. I wante
Malia Saldaña
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
This book was amazing!!!! I loved this book from the first chapter. Great characters. I love Francine and how she’s a nurse-Midwife. I also love Ben.:)
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Ann H. Gabhart knows how to write with gentleness and sincerity to a point that I didn't quite notice how much this story had entrapped me until the day was long gone and the to do list long forgotten.

Francine Howard had her life planned out. But when the man she wished to marry decides he's actually in love with someone else, she hopes on to an adventure at the Appalachian Mountains with the Frontier Nursing Service to learn midwifery. Confronted with a culture so different from hers, she feels
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These Healing Hills (2017) by Ann H. Gabhart is a very sweet stand-alone story. This novel was just released on September 5, 2017. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 360 pages in length. With a full-time job and a precocious five-year old at home, this novel took me four days to read. I received a free copy of this novel directly from the publisher, Revell of the Baker Publishing Group. In no way has this influenced my opinions of the story. All opinions expressed in this revie ...more
Suze Lavender
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's 1945 and Francine thinks her future is secure. She's planning to marry Seth as soon as he's back from the war. When Seth writes her that he's in love with someone else Francine is devastated. Because Seth will bring his new love to America she decides it's time for a change. She signs up for the Frontier Nursing Service midwife training in the Appalachian Mountains. When she arrives she feels at ease straight away. Francine loves the mountains and she enjoys working with people, but there a ...more
ASC Book Reviews
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ!!!!! This is one of the best books I've read this year!!! And the best book I've read of Ann's! The whole plot was very intriguing to me from the beginning and I was drawn deeper still as Fran starts her journey. Feelings of Christy echo in the first few pages, but soon the story grew into it's own! I LOVE these characters from the main to the sub. I was fearful something bad was going to happen, since life in the mountains is hard at the best of times, but I was refreshingly overjoy ...more
Rebekah Giese Witherspoon
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
His mother told him the mountains sent tendrils up out of the ground to wrap around a man’s ankles and keep him tied to the place. He hadn’t believed it then.

It’s a rare and delightful treat to read a novel that takes me home to the hills of eastern Kentucky. This lovely story is filled with so much affection for the people of the mountains and for the beautiful landscapes that make their home. Only a native Kentucky author like Ann H. Gabhart could have written a mountain tale with such authent
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
These past couple of weeks I have been immersed in stories about the Appalachians and the people and their ways of life. These Healing Hills was the second story I have read and this time the time period was right after World War 2. Francine Howard has decided to leave her very familiar life in Cincinnati, Ohio to become a midwife in the Kentucky Appalachian area. She has decided to embrace a new dream after her long held ones were shattered when the love of her life decided to bring back anothe ...more
Katrina Epperson
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story touched me both heart and soul. The author weaves words together that bring to life the mountains of eastern Kentucky and brings a wonderful tribute to Mary Breckinridge.
The author does an excellent job of bringing her characters to life on the pages. I immediately liked Francine Howard. She was not one who focused on broken promises. No, she choose to start an adventure that would bring her new dreams and purpose. Her arrival in Hyden was not as she anticipated in the least. With no
Ibjoy1953 Hannabass
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Francine Howard’s life was on a right and happy path, or so she thought. But when them man she loves announces he’s bringing home a bride from the war, Francine makes the choice to move to the Appalachian Mountains and start her training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service. These mountains not only gave Francine a fresh new start, but a completely new life. She grew to loved and be a part of these mountain people.

Ben Locke was on his way home to his Ke
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Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She's published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shak ...more
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