Rachel Stoltzfus is a soon to be single mother, albeit a strong determined person. As a member of an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel is shunned by many and eventually leaves at the hands of her brother-in-law, the bishop. Determined to keep the baby's father a secret, the health of her baby may change that desire even though it may expose guilt and create pain.
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The Outcast was a deeper read, almost similar to a modern Scarlet Letter with a mix of contemporary Englisch and Mennonite characters. Although parts of this book were a bit uncomfortable, it was tastefully written considering the difficult premise. Secrets, faith, loyalty, family, pride and forgiveness all mingle together to create a genuinely moving story. Wow_what an absolutely beautiful yet profound debut novel. Yet again this was a new author for me but quickly now one of my favorites; I actually have this author's newest book, The Midwife, already on my shelf.
5 (out of 5) pennies
*Library Journal's Best Books 2013*
*Christian Manifesto's 2013 Award Winner for Excellence in Amish Fiction*
Rachel Stolzfus has had an illegitimate child. And because she refuses to name the child's father, she is thrown out of the community by the new bishop Tobias King.
I saw The Outcast as a liberal retelling of the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. While it doesn't have any obvious comparisons to the bible story, other than the fact that the sisters are named Rachel and Leah, if you are familiar with it you can see small details that both stories have in common.
I enjoyed the book and thought that the narrative was unique and original. It was written from two different points of view. One, Amos King the former bishop of the Old Order Mennonite community of Copper Creek and the father of Tobias and Judah King. He is currently watch the story unfold from his bench in Heaven. Unencumbered by human limitations, Amos is able to understand the reason his children have turned out, why they made the choices that they did, and the part he played in those choices. Rachel is the other point of view. She struggles to find a place in the world with her son. When she is befriended by Englisher Ida-May, who offers her a place to stay, a job in her store and a shoulder to lean on, Rachel begins to find God's grace in her life which gives her the courage to face her past.
While the book fought in some places to find a smooth flow in the continuity of the story and the overall time line, the author did a great job in the growth of all the characters. Rachel find's contentment, Tobias find's forgiveness, Leah finds courage, and Judah finds who he really is. This is the story of secrets and of forgiveness. Of hurt and healing.
For a first novel, this wasn't bad. The creative storytelling was remarkable. The characters where ones that I found likable and interesting.
Jolina Petersheim has authored a brilliant debut novel portraying a pregnant, unmarried, Old Order Mennonite girl, and the resultant incriminations and repercussions her condition has elicited from her family and community members. She has been rejected and forsaken for committing adultery, but she refuses to divulge the identification of the man who fathered her unborn child. Sheltered and fostered by a former Mennonite woman, she finds peace and a safe haven. Heartrending events wreak havoc as additional adversities complicate her life. Her faith is shattered and hope is elusive as adversity and anguish besiege her.
The Outcast is written with expertise, proficiency, perception and sensitivity. Drawing from her Mennonite heritage the author has firsthand experience and understanding of her subject matter. Written with sophistication, conviction and discernment, the success of this novel is undeniable. The authenticity of the events throughout this narrative confirm that research and experience are beyond question. Elements of doubting God are replaced with forgiveness, faith, hope and assurance. I highly recommend this eloquently written book of Amish fiction and look forward to many more books by this ingenious new author.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Book Fun through the For Readers Only program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
The Outcast is one of the best recent Amish books I have read. For a first book, Jolina Petersheim is a brilliant author. She is able to keep you on the edge of your seat. It is a book you keep saying, I'll do it after one more chapter, and it just never gets done until the book is done. The story revolves around a girl,Rachel,being shunned by her family and the whole community unless she repents. But in repenting a secret would be revealed that will cause more hurt to the family and community. So Rachel decides to keep the secret. The story incorporates how pride, anger, secrets, forgiveness, bitterness, and misunderstanding can all occur when dealing with guilt. Rachel is helped by Englishers to survive in the English world.
Overall, it is an excellent book. I can't wait to read Jolina's next book The Midwife.
I recieved the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for a honest opinion.
You will love this book one of those you start reading and you can't put it down. I loved the characters the way Jolina wrote them you would think they were real. The story keeps you wanting to read a story of betrayal and tragedy. Will she have the strength to forgive? Think here she is Rachel Stolzfus from a Mennonite family having a child and not being married. Is being shunned by her people. Will forgiveness come through. This is a emotional story. I love how Jolina writes and will look forward to her next book.