These Healing Hills- Five Star Book Review

These healing hillsThese Healing Hills
Ann H. Gabhart

Last time we looked at Wonderland Creek. Here’s my review for These Healing Hills. Another Eastern Kentucky book, but this time in 1945, instead of the 1930’s.
“If you should meet a stinky skunk on an autumn day, what would you do? What would you say? I’d say, ‘Good morning, Stinky Skunk, how do you do? I’m glad to meet you, Stinky Skunk, I’d like to dance with you.’”
Book Blurb: 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 comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

My Thoughts:
Home. The most beautiful word in any language, anywhere in the world. That’s the theme of These Healing Hills.
Home. Home gives us a sense of belonging. A sense of security. And a sense of another beautiful word. Love.
Francine Howard had her life all figured out. She was going to marry her boyfriend, Seth, then settle down and raise a family. But then he writes about an English girl he’s fallen in love with, Francine’s plans shatter into pieces and home just doesn’t have the same feeling as it did before.
She joins the Frontier Nursing Service and sets off to become a nurse-midwife in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, where she can learn to ‘catch babies’ and use the talents in nursing that the Lord had given her.
‘Better to be a useful vessel ready to be filled with the work the Lord intended for her.’
The Lord used Francine to bless the lives of the mountain people, especially the Locke family, still grieving over the loss of a husband and father. Francine’s gentle way and the return of their oldest son brings healing to this loving family.
Family. It’s what makes a house a home. When we are together with those we love and those that love us, we feel safe. “Everything is family up here, isn’t it?”
But at the same time, Fran is finding a home and a purpose among the mountains, Ben Locke is struggling with the ache to leave home. For three long years all he’d thought about was getting home, and now that he’d made it, what did God want him to do with his life? Should he use the G.I. Bill and go back to college? What about these mountains, would he feel at home anywhere else?
“You done been staring down that empty path a long while, Benjamin.”
Francine and Ben both have decisions to make and differences to combat. He’s mountain. She’s not. She’s supposed to focus on her nursing, not finding a husband. Can Fran and Ben silence the voices in their heads and listen to the rhythm of the mountains? Where will their paths lead? Could be, they’re already exactly where they’re supposed to be.
‘But she’d heard over and over how nobody came to the Frontier Nursing Serve by accident. The Lord wasn’t in the wishing business. He answered prayers. Sometimes in ways a person couldn’t imagine. Perhaps the Lord had put her right where she was supposed to be.’
I loved the characters, especially the Locke family. As a musician, I loved the references to music. These Healing Hills was a wonderful story of home, family, and love. A tale of seeking out God’s path one step at a time. The story started out slow, building a sense of place before getting into the drama. At first, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but as it went on, I enjoyed the book. This was my first read by Ann H. Gabhart, and as a fellow Kentucky author, I hope to enjoy more of her stories in the near future.
‘But come morning, Fran would be on the train and then the bus heading home. What was it people said? Home is where the heart is. Her eyes were anxious to see the mountains rising up in front of her again.’
If you love history, click on this link to learn more.


AnnHGabhartAbout the Author

Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she’s published many books for both adults and young adults. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life and as A.H. Gabhart is the author of the Hidden Springs mysteries.

Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann loves hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Oscar. See more about her books at or join the conversation on her Facebook page,

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