Book Review: "The Outsider" by Ann Gabhart
Learning about the Shaker way of Life
Gabrielle is a member of the religious group, The Shakers. Since a small child, she has been a part of this community and has not experienced the outside world. Then one day an incident brings a doctor from the outside into the community and suddenly Gabrielle's world is shaken. She feels drawn to Dr. Brice Scott yet it means giving up everything she's ever known. However she starts to question the beliefs and practices of the Shakers and wonders if this is truly the right path for her.
Looking at the cover of this book, one might think "Oh, it's another Amish book." Well then the reader is in for a surprise as the story is about another lesser known historical religious group, The Shakers. Gabrielle's story brings to life the daily life of the Shakers and gives the reader a glimpse of what life was like for someone who did not truly belong. It was interesting to see how they dealt with the outside world and how they tried to maintain a closed knit society. The story made it sound like the Shakers were not true Christians. Their beliefs incorporated practices that were not needed to become real believers of Christ. It's sad that they felt that they had to include these in order to live a fulfilled life. It was a heartbreaking way to live with mothers being separated from their children. Doing more research showed that many times it was the husband who originally chose this way of lifestyle and forced the rest of the family into joining. It's a subject well worth spending more time looking into. The story is well written. This is the author's first historical novel and a lot of research was done for the book. I learned a lot from it as I had only the basic understanding of Shakers from history class. I'll be looking forward to reading the next book in this series by Ann Gabhart.
The Outsider by Ann Gabhart is published by Revell (2008)