"Shaker romance" might seem like an oxymoron, but Gabhart (Summer of Joy) pens an interesting if emotionally lukewarm historical tale that explores the fascinating world of a religious Shaker community. The predictable story line is less compelling than the details about the Shakers and their stringent religious beliefs, with celibacy key to the plot. Set amid the War of 1812, the point of view shifts between the two romantic leads. Twenty-year-old Sister Gabrielle Hope's spiritual visions enable her to see future events. Although she's committed to the Shaker community of Harmony Hill (based on Kentucky's real-life Pleasant Hill), a few words and a kiss from the widowed outsider Dr. Brice Scott cause her to question the life she and her mother have chosen. More uncertainty follows as the strict rules of the community separate mothers from their children. Disappointingly, the romance never tingles, and even the novel's darker scenes of suicide and military execution are emotionally flat. But fans of Beverly Lewis's Amish novels may find Gabhart's well-researched historical fiction to their liking. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Outsider: A Novelby Ann H. Gabhart
Soulful and filled with romance, The Outsider lets readers live through a unique girl in a bygone time among a peculiar people--the Shakers. A tender and thought-provoking story.See more details below
Soulful and filled with romance, The Outsider lets readers live through a unique girl in a bygone time among a peculiar people--the Shakers. A tender and thought-provoking story.
Set in Kentucky in the early 1800s, this novel centers on Gabrielle Hope, whose family falls apart following the death of her brother. She and her mother join a Shaker community, but her loyalty to the Shakers and their chaste way of life is challenged when she meets an outsider, a doctor brought in to save the life of a young man. The author of Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy offers a glimpse of a bygone era in which the Shakers lived together in chastity and faith. With an appealing heroine and an intriguing plot, Gabhart's latest novel deserves a place in all public libraries. The writer lives in Kentucky.
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