The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim has a modern day twist to a the classic THE SCARLET LETTER. (GoodReads) 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 the lives of those who call Copper Creek home.
The story begins midpoint. Rachel has already given birth to her child, and is already feeling the scorn of her Mennonite community. Her parents are not there with her, she had come to TN to help her twin sister while she was on bedrest. From the their beginning you realize the scorn her brother-in-law, Tobias King feels for her--how desperately he wants her out of his home. The first chance he gets he sends her on her way, separating her from her twin. Rachel begins to make a new life for her and her son, but soon finds herself needing those she has left behind. Is there a way to help her? Will Tobias allow her sister, Leah to help?
THE OUTCAST is a story that gets better and better with each page. Told in alternating voice of Rachel and the 'all seeing all knowing' Amos (Tobias' father who has recently passed away). When I first started reading the story, I felt like how is this a modern day retelling when the backdrop of the story is a Mennonite community? The way Petersheim weaves the two worlds together really really surprised me. When I was reading I felt a sense of how it would be for them to move in between their two world. I felt such compassion for Rachel and her sister, and I found myself surprised near the ending feeling compassion for Tobias. I loved all of the characters, I couldn't get enough of this book. I didn't want to put it down, I didn't want it to end.
You are going to love this book. Be ready to enter an amazing new world, but make sure you have a box of kleenex for this journey. I am highly recommending THE OUTCAST! Pssst and I'm looking forward to learning more about Petersheim's next book!
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I came across this giveaway for The Outcast over on goodreads, so I wanted to share!