Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Outsider by Ann Gabhart

This was a book club for this month and will also be my Kentucky book for the Reading Road Trip Challenge.
The Outsider (Shaker Series, #1)
Fleming H Revell Company

Gabrielle is content with her life with the Shaker community. She has the special gifts of song and the gift of seeing the future. Unfortunately her gift of seeing the future is often the gift of seeing death when it is coming. She misses her mother some, but gets to see her at the meetings and she believes her father is dead, so there is nothing to draw her to the outside world, until Dr. Scott comes to the aid of another Believer, Nathan. Dr. Scott feels an attraction to Gabrielle as does Nathan and both see her as a thing of beauty. Gabrielle fights their advances and feels only brotherly love for Nathan, but her attraction to the doctor is more. When he forces her to kiss him, she knows that she loves him, but tries to stay with the Shakers. Gabrielle is censored by her community, but most still want her to stay, but with Dr. Scott pulling on her heart, she has a difficult choice. When war draws him away, will he return and if he does will Gabrielle want to leave with him?

I think Gabhart researched the time period very well and she attempts to be unbiased toward the Shakers, but she does show them as very controlling and not sympathetic. The Shaker life was difficult and very secretive and they faced prejudice in their own time, which Gabhart presents well. The story starts with the barn burning, showing this prejudice. I think she did fairly well trying to present their way of life as both good and bad, but ultimately the Shakers are the "bad guys" of the story. The romance for me was okay, Dr. Scott is neither a good or bad man, but he did force her to kiss him, so that left me a bit soured toward him. Gabrielle was a very innocent character and that was dishonorable of him, no matter what his motives. He wrecks havoc in her life, when it may not have been necessary and in the end I am not for sure which decision would have been best for her. However after certain events, I think she would have come to the same conclusion in the end, so it was good that she had him as an option.

This was a bit of a slow read, because most of the time the characters are just thinking, but it was a good historical fiction and the first Christian fiction romance book I have read. I may try the genre again and I might try Gabhart's other series later. 3 cups of cocoa.

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