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Road to Pleasant Hill begins our tales of Shaker life.


book cover

The story begins in 1834. Ten-year-old Betsy Johnson and her younger brother Tad are still reeling from the deaths of their parents when they are uprooted from their Eastern Kentucky farm and sent hundreds of miles away to live with the Shakers at Pleasant Hill.

Even before they arrive, Betsy is frightened by the stories she's heard about Shakers. They're known as a strange group that whirls and twirls wildly about during their religious services, and they supposedly separate family members from one another and take away all their possessions. Is this any place she will want to live and grow up?

Then, as soon as the stagecoach delivers Betsy and Tad to their new home, they are torn apart. Betsy is sent to live with other girls; Tad goes to the boys’ side of the house.

And, it doesn't take long for the situation to get even worse. Betsy soon finds herself being blackmailed into keeping a secret by one of her roommates, a secret that could prove to be deadly for the whole village.

Follow their adventures in adjusting to life in an 1830’s Shaker community.

Share Betsy's satisfaction as she learns that having 100 sisters and brothers makes light of any workload and also multiplies the fun because it is shared with friends. She also discovers her own special gift of healing and gains a new meaning of family.

And, sympathize with Tad who is so shy and sensitive that he can't get over being homesick for his parents and for his lost home.

Meet their new friends including ...

Grace whose artistic talents are trumped only by her ear for gossip and her ability to use it, and

Ruth, a natural teacher, who has to learn from Betsy that keeping secrets can be deadly.

Betsy and Tad's adventures continue through two more books.

Tad takes center stage in ‘Tis a Gift, the second book in the series, which picks up the story two years later. Even after two years with the Shakers, Tad still doesn’t feel like he fits in at the village. He tries to do what is expected of boys his age, but everything - from milking cows to baling hay - ends in disaster. He would rather listen to the music of the wind blowing through tall grasses or watch the dance of a bumblebee. But, that bully Fred just won’t allow it.

The third book again shifts the spotlight, this time to Grace. Titled Tree of Life, it tells how this spunky, artistic, and clever girl tries to weave a future for herself outside the fences of Shaker Village. But, alas, her silken dreams get tied up in all kinds of knots that create problems for her and for the rest of the village.

All three are part of the Think Young collection from MotesBooks and are available in bookstores, libraries, and online at

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