Book Review: The Outsider by Ann H. Gabhart


The Outsider           THE OUTSIDER

Series: The Shaker Books, Book 1

2009 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year Finalist

An unlikely love and unwanted gift threaten to destroy a quiet Shaker girl of the 1800s.


She thought she was content–until a love from the outside world turned hers upside down.

Gabrielle Hope and her mother joined the Harmony Hill Shaker community in 1807. The community promised stability and devotion that Gabrielle wholeheartedly embraced. But when a local doctor must be brought into Harmony Hill from the outside, he sets 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 you live within a bygone time among a unique and peculiar people. This tender and thought-provoking story will stay with you long after you finish the final chapter.

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About the Author . . . 

Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has AnnHGabhartwalked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for The Outsider. Gabhart is also the author of Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy.

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Review . . . 

As a Kentuckian, the only thing I like better than historical fiction is historical fiction set in Kentucky.  The Shakers are an interesting part of Kentucky’s history, with two villages maintained today as museums.  The author has based her fictional village on Pleasant Hill, the larger of the two.  She has spent several years studying and researching the Shakers, as evidenced in her accurate portrayal of their actions during wartime and their attitudes toward the outside world.  I especially appreciated her depiction of the military in the War of 1812.  Christian fiction writers often shy away from realism, but Ms. Gabhart shows, at least in part, the gritty realism of war in the 19th century.

One of the best things I can say for this book is that the ending was not obvious from the very beginning.  It held my interest consistently until the end. I had to know what Gabrielle’s decision would be.

5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author as a contest prize. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”