This my first time reading a book by Ann Gabhart, and my first time reading about the Shakers and anything close to the Amish lifestyle. "The Outsider" draws you in from the very beginning with a plot that is hard to predict what will happen. What is great about this book is that it gives you a look inside the Shaker life, while also giving you a view of the war that is going on in the outside world.
The main character, Gabrielle, has been brought to the Shakers by her mother who has lost everything. After living there for years, Gabrielle as become accustomed to the Shaker life and their strange ways. Gabrielle, is different from the rest of the Shakers because of her "gift" to see visions of the future. One night she sees a vision of her friend, Nathan going into a fire. As the fire blazes outside, a doctor from the outside world is brought in to help heal her friend Nathan and fix his legs. As Gabrielle gets to know the doctor, her heart begins to feel drawn to him and for the first time, she starts to question her Shaker existence. Although the Shakers and the war may tare them apart, Gabrielle must decide once and for all between the Shakers and her true love for the doctor.
I really enjoyed getting to know about the Shaker life, and found myself sad at how lost these people were, not knowing that the true and only way is through Christ alone. Its sad to think that there are other cults out there like this today, and that there are a lot of hurting people seeking their help instead of the Savior's.
As sort of a disclaimer, I was sort of surprised by the amount of death and violence during the war scenes. As part of history, though it was very accurate and well written.
Two things I would have liked to see more of were, that of Gabrielle finding Christ in a more special way and really learning what it is like to be a Christian and understanding more about God than what the Shakers had taught her. Another thing that would have been more interesting to know more about was Gabrielle's visions. Was it only because she was with the Shakers that she had them? And why?
Altogether, this was a wonderful book and part of a great new series! Book 2# "The Believer" is coming out in August!
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