Shari Larsen's Reviews > The Outsider

The Outsider by Ann H. Gabhart
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Jul 26, 11

Read from July 22 to 26, 2011 — I own a copy

This story is set in a Shaker community in Kentucky in 1812. Gabrielle and her mother have lived with the Shakers since 1807, when Gabrielle was around 13 years old. For as long as she has remembered, Gabrielle has had the gift of knowing; being able to see visions of events yet to come. When one of these visions comes to pass, a local doctor is brought in to save the life of a young man, setting into motion a chain of events which causes Gabrielle to question her faith, and she must make a choice, to stay in her community, which up until now she always felt accepted by and sense of peace and belonging, or the forbidden love of a man from "the world".

This was a very interesting look at life back in that time, especially that within the religion of the Shakers. The author did a good job not only of showing the fanatical side of the religion, but also the good parts which made me understand what drew people to it. I can also understand that because of the strictness of the rules, especially since they did not believe in marriage or families in the traditional sense, that the religion gradually died out; they lived instead as brothers and sisters. Even families that came to live within the community were separated; men from women, and mothers from their children.

I won't give away the ending and tell you what Gabrielle chose in the end, but her struggle with her faith was very believable and real.
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