For as long as she can remember, Gabrielle Hope has had the gift of knowing--visions that warn of things to come. When she and her mother joined the Pleasant Hill Shaker community in 1807, the community embraced her gift. But Gabrielle fears this gift, for the visions are often ones of sorrow and tragedy. When one of these visions comes to pass, a local doctor must be brought in to save the life of a young man, setting into motion a chain of events that will challenge Gabrielle's loyalty to the Shakers. As she falls deeper into a forbidden love for this man of the world, Gabrielle must make a choice. Can she experience true happiness in this simple and chaste community? Or will she abandon her brothers and sisters for a life of the unknown?
Soulful and filled with romance, The Outsider lets readers live within a bygone time among a unique and peculiar people. This tender and thought-provoking story will leave readers wanting more from this writer.
Ann H. Gabhart is the author of The Scent of Lilacs, Orchard of Hope, and Summer of Joy. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
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 2008 Reed Business Information.