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June 20, 2013

THE OUTCAST by Jolina Petersheim

by Jolina Petersheim                                                4 STARS

Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel Stoltzfus is a strong-willed single woman, content living apart from mainstream society until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Refusing to repent and name the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most. She is eventually coerced into leaving by her brother-in-law, the bishop. But secrets run deep in this cloistered community, and the bishop is hiding some of his own, threatening his conscience and his very soul. When the life of Rachel’s baby is at stake, however, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing  lives.

I immediately was drawn to the book by it's cover and the fact it was a Mennonite read.  It is  definitely a modern day version of THE SCARLET LETTER. Perhaps the author, Ms. Petersheim didn't intend it to be that way but I feel it follows the main story line of THE SCARLET LETTER.

The story takes place in a Pennsylvania Dutch Community.  Rachel, Leah's twin , is married but has an
illegitimate son. Rachel wouldn't name the father of her son, and this was a shunning offense in the small community,so she was shunned.   It wasn't just a matter of protecting the father.  Leah, her twin is married to  bishop, who obviously dislikes Rachel and disapproves of what she does.  He did much to have her thrown out of their community to live among the Englischers.  Rachel makes a friend, Ida Mae.

The other characters were also troubled with issues and problems that they were trying to solve. I couldn't put the book down.  Took me about a day and a half to consume this great story.. The characters were almost real, they could have been your friends.  I wanted so much to help Rachel with her problems.  I was relieved when she found the solace she was seeking.

The story was a little hard to get used to since the book was told from Rachel's view at times and sometimes from Heaven by the deceased Bishop Amos King.  I had nice flow once I got used to the way the story was told.  The book showed every side of the story and what powers  redemption has. There was one bad word used at the first of the book and there was the adultery issue, but all in all this was a great work of Christian fiction.

I would recommend this book to all adults.  It was quite an enjoyable book and easy to read.

I would give this book 4 STARS.

I received this book from a friend for this unbiased review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jolina Petersheim
Jolina Petersheim holds degrees in English and communication arts from the University of the Cumberlands. Though The Outcast is her first novel, her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications. Her blog is syndicated with the Tennessean's "On Nashville" blog roll, as well as featured on other creative-writing sites. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Follow Jolina and her blog at (given below)

1 comment:

Jolina Petersheim said...

Thank you much for your lovely review! I greatly appreciate it! :)