inspiring story of redemption.
The Outcast, Jolina Petersheim
This was a fabulous book about being an outcast, the black sheep of the family or in this case the outcast of the whole community. Rachel Stoltzfus moves to Tennessee to be with her sister and her family in order to help care for her. But she soon finds herself pregnant and unwed. This is a big no-no in the Old Order Mennonite community. When she is exiled she is taken in by the owner of the local Amish Store, where she is welcomed and loved despite her sin. Her newborn son Eli is diagnosed with non-HodgkinÃ¢ÂÂs lymphoma. EliÃ¢ÂÂs only hope is a bone marrow transplant. But in order to have it Rachel will have to tell her deep dark secret of who the father is.
Part of this story is told by the recently deceased Bishop Amos King. Who happens to be in heaven and the father to the new Bishop. He has an interesting view of the situation. I enjoyed his view of the infidelity and tragedy that takes place.
The author Jolina Petersheim did a great job of retelling The Scarlett Letter. The characters are believable and engaging. I was drawn in and had a hard time putting this book down. Read this great book to experience betrayal and the glory found in forgiveness.
A big high-five goes to the author Jolina Petrersheim and publisher for bringing compelling Christian books that are entertaining and give hope to the reader with stories of faith. The Book Club Network Inc. provided me with this book in exchange for my honest review and I am so grateful for their generosity.
December 8, 2013
Extremely well written novel
I'm not sure why I find writing a review for the books that I love to be so difficult. Maybe it's because I'm hoping to do the book justice and know my writing abilities are lacking.
The Outcast is one of the best Amish fiction novels that I've ever read, and believe me, I've read a lot. It's also one of the best books I've read this year (85 year to date).
This may be the author's debut novel but you'd never know it by the way it's written. Mark my words, we are going to see a lot more by Jolina Petersheim and it's going to be good!
I received The Outcast from bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review.
December 3, 2013
With the sequel to The Outcast, titled The Midwife, coming out next summer, please take time to read this first book that proves to be a very intriguing and captivating tale. While it is subtitled as a modern retelling of Nathaniel HawthorneÃ¢ÂÂs classic, The Scarlet Letter, I found the contents to be richer than the classic or other versions of the story.
There are many special earmarks that made this novel more meaningful to me than anything else like The Scarlet Letter in years. In the classic tale, the woman who committed adultery is forced to wear the letter Ã¢ÂÂAÃ¢ÂÂ on the front of her clothing so that everyone will know her sin of adultery. The author takes that letter along with the sin it was meant to proclaim before all and weaves it into a tale that speaks to the readerÃ¢ÂÂs heart. If I were to share with you how she did this, I am afraid it would steal the joy of the journey for the audience which I donÃ¢ÂÂt want to do. I can say it impacted my heart and stole my breath away even after finishing the whole book.
Another gem in the writing is that no matter where the story is playing out there are many of us who will forget we are even reading a modern twist to a classic! When the community comes together to hear the church, at times they also hear a sinner confess. Then the person is forgiven and takes their place within the community again. HumanityÃ¢ÂÂs sinful nature is unwrapped tenderly and put forth in this fictional tale, reminding us that no one is sinless. Yet when we are tempted, we always have choices.
As I read I through the pages, it was very interesting to see how different characters reacted to either the BishopÃ¢ÂÂs order or would listen to gossip as if it were the truth, never thinking to actually look for the truth. I thought the way the main protagonist was a twin and how the sin impacted their special bond was truly captivating. The other characters in the tale will bring before the readers different reactions and responses that deepen the story behind the story. A theme I continue to think on is how we can choose to repent or choose to remain prideful and unwilling to acknowledge the sin of pride that resides very deep within the heart. Since it resides so deeply, we need God through the Lord Jesus Christ to change us because we are so unable to change ourselves! DonÃ¢ÂÂt pass up the opportunity to read the novel or give one away during this holiday time.
December 3, 2013
Emotional journey in Retelling of Scarlet Letter
Rachel Stolztfus is living in an old order Mennonite community which quickly rejects her as her sin of sexual impurity becomes obvious. She will tell no one who the father of her child,Eli, is. She will not tell her twin, Leah, wanting to protect her from knowledge both destructive and hurtful. She also refuses to tell Judah King, the young man who has loved her since childhood. The new bishop, Leah's husband, bans Rachel from the King house and the community. Moving to another area, living with an unlikely lady, Rachel begins to find comfort and hope as she battles bitterness vs. forgiveness; secrecy vs. honesty that can save her son's life; and acceptance of real love rather than the envy of a relationship that wasn' t what it seemed. Surprisingly, others have kept secrets that have contributed to the whole " unholy" situation, and must decide how to resolve their issues to the betterment of all.
It's been said that third person point of view is one of the least well-received types of writing. Petersheim gets around this cleverly. She bounces back and forth between narration by Rachel and narration by Amos King, newly deceased bishop and father of both Judah and Leah's husband, Tobias. Amos has keen insight into his sons' characters, and a little bit of a broader perspective only one who could sea the bigger picture could have. Truly a great writing ploy. By the time I had finished the book, I felt like I had emotionally been put through one of those old- fashioned wringer washers that Rachel might have used. Fortunately, I also felt like Petersheim hung the reader's emotions out to dry on a clothesline on a warm, sunny day, with the promise of a warm, drying wind to come.
November 29, 2013