Ann H. Gabhart is one of my top favorite authors. She came out in the top few in 2014 in every method of tabulation. Most of her books have been five-star reviews. The Outsider is the first in her Shaker Series of historical fiction, in the Shaker community of Harmony Hill. This is a real place near where Ann lives in Kentucky. This GoodReads book review was written with difficulty.
Public library copy. This is the first in the Shaker series by Ann Gabhart. I have read others of her books and loved them. She is one of my top authors, new to me in 2014.
But this subject is hard. I knew nothing about the Shakers before reading The Outsider. I find it difficult to read stories about religious communities, even when it’s fiction, where the leaders are exposed to be ungodly and domineering in their behavior. This group sounds almost pagan in their worship. This is the third such series which I have started in the past year, and while the writing is wonderful, the story is overpowering to the point where I find it difficult to read.
That being said, I suppose the writing is too good, too real, not fictional enough 🙂 My favorite main character is the doctor, and once the story got away from Harmony Hill and the Shakers, it was great. I’m looking forward to more of that in the next book in the series. I also loved the character of Seth, and the strong thread of true spiritual searching for God in several of the characters.
I’ll give it a three-star rating, because it was difficult to read but very well-written.