Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Ann Gabhart's The Outsider ~ Reviewed
By Ann H. Gabhart
Published by Revell
For as long as she can remember, Gabrielle Hope has had the gift of knowing--visions that warn of things to come. When she and her mother joined the Pleasant Hill Shaker community in 1807, the community embraced her gift. But Gabrielle fears this gift, for the visions are often ones of sorrow and tragedy. When one of these visions comes to pass, a local doctor must be brought in to save the life of a young man, setting 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 readers live within a bygone time among a unique and peculiar people. This tender and thought-provoking story will leave readers wanting more from this writer.
For many years Gabrielle has followed the “truth” taught by her Shaker community. Once she starts to question these teachings and seeking the Eternal Father’s heart, her desires are to follow a different path. This thought provoking book shows how easily we can be misled if we follow someone instead of The One.
Now I understand why this is a dying religion for that is all it is, religion. I also see a little of all of us in Elder Caleb, Sister Mercy and Sister Helen as they find fault in Sister Gabrielle and the world but cannot see their own sin and rigidity. How can we love if we don’t know Christ? How can we really believe we live without sin? How many of us do choose the Biblical teachings that suit us but ignore the parts we don’t like? I often would like to isolate myself as the Shakers do to lessen the world’s influence but I know the only way to be protected is through the grace and mercy of Christ.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9