In “Gladden the Heart”, Olivia Newport has taken historical events from the mid 1800’s in Pennsylvania and created a very poignant novel. Susanna and her family are Amish. Her best friend, Patsy, is the daughter of a Methodist minister. During a Methodist tent revival Susanna is drawn to the preaching as is her cousin. Noah begins to preach while under some sort of trance and never remembers what he does or says during these trances. The Amish bishop and the Methodist minister are at odds with each other over this phenomenon which sets people against each other. Fear is a potent motivator and folks are caught up in this, even to the point of moving to another state to get away. Adam loves Susanna, but is fearful of being involved with her because she cares for her cousin and stands by him. He is afraid that he will lose his vision of God and redemption. I thought that the way Ms. Newport found the solution to these dilemmas in her novel was compassionate and understanding. It was an enjoyable read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.