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"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.