Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Outsider - Ann H. Gabhart

Summary from Good Reads: 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.

Gabrielle lives among a Shaker village which has been her home for over seven years.  She sees a "vision" of a fellow brother, Nathan, trapped in a burning building.  The Elders listen to her and find Nathan and he is badly burned but survives with the help of Dr. Brice Scott.  Brice is an outisder but with his help, Nathan survives and his wounds heal.  Gabrielle is very close to Nathan and is by his side throughout his recovery.  During this time, Brice falls in love with her and tries to convince her to leave the Shaker village and live with him.  She refuses to leave but she is fighting an emtional battle inside over her feelings for him.  Will love prevail for Gabrielle and Brice?

Reading about the Shaker community was different for me.  It is nothing like the Amish.  Shaker's separate men from women and all the children live separately.  They believe that matrimony is a sin and treat the community as a whole family.  To me, the Shakers are more of a cult than a religion.  You are not born a Shaker since they do not get married and have families, they are assimulated, or acquired.  The whole concept of their live style is rather odd to me.

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