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Tyndale House The Outcast - eBook

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4.8
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Customer Reviews for The Outcast - eBook
Review 1 for The Outcast - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:May 10, 2014
Customer Avatar
Army Mom
Location:Ontario, Ca.
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
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Review 2 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Heart-stirring...

Date:May 28, 2014
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Jen Pen
Location:Midwest
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
SUMMARY:
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.
RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies
*Library Journal’s Best Books 2013*
*Christian Manifesto’s 2013 Award Winner for Excellence in Amish Fiction*
*World Magazine’s Notable Books*
*2013/2014 Christian Retailing’s Best Nominee*
*INSPY Nominee*
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Review 3 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Outstanding Debut Novel!

Date:February 14, 2014
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Nancee
Location:Grand Rapids, Michigan
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 4 for The Outcast - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 21, 2013
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debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel and Leah have been inseparable since before they were born. As identical twins they do everything together. But their personalities are as opposite as night and day. Leah is meek, quiet and submissive; and Rachel is fiercely independent, stubborn and strong-willed. So when Leah marries a bishop and moves to Tennessee, it is Rachel she calls upon to help her when she becomes ill with her first pregnancy.
Secrets long hidden are coming to light, and Rachel's arrival to her twin sister's home may not be the best thing for either of them. When Rachel turn up pregnant, Leah's husband, Tobias, is more than ready to put Rachel out of their home for her adultery. But while Rachel is not confessing who the father is, her childhood friend, Judah King, desperately wants to make her his wife even though she has a child. When the baby's life is at stake, will the partner in her sin come forward to save little Eli's life?
This novel is in a genre all it's own; Amish, suspense, and re-told classic all rolled into one! Naturally, the story line itself is of great interest to anyone who has read the scarlet letter (or researched it well enough to write school reports on it!) but while I have never read the original tale, this one was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity! I was completely blown away by the tension throughout this book, and the page turning action and conflicts had me at the edge of my seat. It is unique, poignant, and an unforgettable saga of love, betrayal, forgiveness and mercy.
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Review 5 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent Book!!!!!

Date:February 2, 2014
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loriweller
Location:Lancaster,Pa
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 6 for The Outcast - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Beautiful Story that Transcends Genre

Date:November 22, 2013
Customer Avatar
Beth
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Jolina Petersheim’s debut novel, The Outcast, truly transcends genre, telling a story of betrayal, legalism and jealousy, but, more importantly, of hope, healing and forgiveness. The layered plot & multi-faceted characters combined with a poetic, lyrical writing style give this novel an unexpected edgy and realistic quality that is not often found in novels of this setting.
Set in an Old Order Mennonite community, this story touches on themes of legalistic religion versus tolerant forgiveness, strained family relationships and even modern-day medicine versus holistic approaches. As the mother of an illegitimate child, Rachel Stoltzfus is at the scrutiny of the people in her community. Her decision to leave Eli’s father nameless ensures that the bigotry lands solely on her shoulders, and the lies and betrayal are left to fester underneath the surface. When her son needs life-saving medical help, the circumstances of his birth come to a head with nearly soul-shattering results.
Rachel’s personal narration is uniquely mirrored by the narration of Amos King, the deceased bishop of her community. His otherworldly perspective adds an unexpected layer to the story and provided the necessary background of past events, including what he feels was his hand in helping his son Tobias cover up his sin as well as his hand in the strained relationship between his son Judas and his older children.
Petersheim’s descriptions were beautiful, epitomizing the idea of showing not telling. As I was reading, I felt what these characters were feeling. My heart was broken and put together again by the situations and people in this story of moving past betrayals to save a child’s life.
There was a wonderful cast of characters that each had a compelling backstory of their own, including prickly Ida Mae, holistic healer Norman Troyer, reputation-obsessed Tobias, steadfast Judah and Rachel’s timid, secret-keeping twin, Leah – they were all truly wonderful. Often how they appeared on the outside was just a façade to cover what was underneath. By the story’s end, I was convicted of my preconceived notions of right & wrong. Ultimately, who was I to judge in the light of true grace and forgiveness?
The ending left me breathless with a twist that I did not see coming. The act of two people perpetuated events with terrible consequences, and they aren’t the two people that you would think at the story’s beginning. The resolution was entirely and realistically satisfying.
Subtle and outstanding, The Outcast immediately moved to my list of all-time favorites. I was so impressed by the seasoned quality Jolina’s writing and am eager to get my hands on her upcoming title The Midwife.
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Review 7 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book

Date:January 2, 2014
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joeym11
Location:Indiana
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Outcast
By: Jolina Petersheim
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.
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Review 8 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

WOW!!!!!!

Date:December 27, 2013
Customer Avatar
Tablet
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
WOW!!!! I have to start out saying, I don't read Amish fiction. HOWEVER, this book is one of the best that I've read this year. This is a beautiful story of redemption, forgiveness, and true love. The characters and plot draw you in from the very beginning. The characters are very believable and you experience what they are going through. You won't be able to put this book down and it will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. Don't miss this book. I highly recommend it to all readers. I look forward to her next novel. I received a complimentary copy of this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion. Many thanks!! tab :)!
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Review 9 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Secrets become prisons

Date:December 25, 2013
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Shai
Location:Norfolk, NE
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Outcast is one of the few Amish fiction books I have read but it is absolutely the best! I loved the way Ms. Petersheim uses a character to be the third person narrator throughout the story. She incorporates the present with the heavenly and gives the reader a preview into the heart motives behind each character. It is done brilliantly and in such a way that although the reader would like to hate certain characters, they cannot help but feel sympathetic toward them. It is a fantastic way of displaying the way hurt can motivate actions of self-preservation.
When Rachel Stoltzfus’ greatest sin is made public, she has the choice to repent or be expelled from her community. She is a good girl and has always been obedient. But when one mistake changes everything, Rachel feels the abandonment of those she trusted most, including the God she thought she knew. Knowing she is guilty but does not bear the guilt alone, Rachel’s pride keeps her from repentance and fear keeps her from telling the truth. Rachel leans on her own understanding and tries to protect those she loves with silence, even at the expense of losing her best friend, her sister, Leah. Without her repentance, Rachel cannot continue to exist in the world she has known her whole life. But pride, anger and bitterness keep Rachel from repentance and she is forced into the world of the Englischers and an eccentric woman named Ida Mae. Together these two strong women find healing from their pasts when all is stripped away and the life of an innocent hangs in the balance.
True love seems to evade Rachel and because of her sins, she does not feel worthy to receive it. Love is the strongest of all however, and it will pursue her. She has to decide if she can lay down her own self-loathing long enough to find healing in forgiveness.
Secrets meant to protect become prisons of misunderstandings. Can all of those involved forgive before it is too late? The Outcast is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it! I look forward to Ms. Petersheim’s next book, The Midwife. I received this book from the The Book Club Network and Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Review 10 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

inspiring story of redemption.

Date:December 8, 2013
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inspiremichelle
Location:Loureauville, LA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Eli’s 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.
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Review 11 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Extremely well written novel

Date:December 3, 2013
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Cindi
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 12 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 3, 2013
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lcjohnson1988
Location:Indiana
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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 Hawthorne’s 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 “A” 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 reader’s 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 don’t 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. Humanity’s 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 Bishop’s 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! Don’t pass up the opportunity to read the novel or give one away during this holiday time.
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Review 13 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Emotional journey in Retelling of Scarlet Letter

Date:November 29, 2013
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Becky
Location:SW MI
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 14 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Outcast

Date:October 15, 2013
This review gives more insight than just "it was/wasn't a good book" or "this is/isn't a must read". While I try not to give too much away, sometimes it's difficult to write about the story and have it not be revealing.
Unwed Rachel Stolzfus and her infant son, Eli, were forced to leave their Mennonite community in Copper Creek, Tennessee. The coercion was done by her brother-In–law, Bishop Tobias King. Rachel met up with Englisher Ida Mae Speck who offered her a place to live. With nowhere else to go Rachel took her up on the kind gesture. As the story continued Rachel found out Eli needed a bone marrow transplant, which meant the father of her child must be revealed. But Rachel swore to never tell his identity. While Rachel is the main character, there are more subplots and characters in this story that will get you so emotionally invested you won’t be able to put the book down.
I was pretty sure I knew who Eli’s father was before he was revealed. But there was a lot that happened that I didn’t see coming. The author has woven the characters’ lives together so well yet she also showed their individuality. Most of them have a secret or two that they are hiding. There are quite a few characters in this book. The story is slow moving enough, in a good way, that I got to know and remember each person easily as I read through the pages.
The story is told in first person by Rachel and the deceased bishop Amos king, the father of Tobias and Judah, the man who loves Rachel even though she doesn’t return his affections. Amos is up in heaven watching the entire goings on with Rachel and the others in the story. While I don’t believe it to be biblically accurate, it gives the book an interesting perspective.
I liked how Jolina Petersheim used such illustrative words. For example, she used “melon of a stomach” for Rachel’s pregnant belly. When Rachel was watching her friend get mad she was “watching heat creep up the ladder of Ida Mae’s neck”.
The Outcast shows the results of sin. It stretches out its tentacles and affects more than one person. The author writes about many issues: adultery, lying, gossip, suicide, being prideful, dysfunctional family relations, favoritism, and selfishness. She does a good job showing how people can destroy themselves and those around them with these issues. She also shows us how to live the way God intended for us by offering love and forgiveness to those who hurt us with those negative behaviors.
I feel this book would be unsuitable for younger readers. I wouldn’t want my tween reading this. While I couldn’t put it down, it had many parts that are not uplifting. This is definitely not a light read and has adult themes to it. I hate to label it as dark but it tackles heavy issues, The Outcast is not your typical Amish story.
I sadly haven’t read The Scarlet Letter, which this book is based upon. I can’t tell you if it’s anything like the original story. But I can tell you that Jolina Petersheim creates a cast of characters and situations that are believable, apart from the dead narrator. The story is a work about how family relationships can make or break a person. Most of the characters in this story are broken. But once they came to God there was restoration, forgiveness, hope, and love that wasn’t there before.
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale and The Christian Manifesto in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 15 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:September 13, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel and Leah have been inseparable since before they were born. As identical twins they do everything together. But their personalities are as opposite as night and day. Leah is meek, quiet and submissive; and Rachel is fiercely independent, stubborn and strong-willed. So when Leah marries a bishop and moves to Tennessee, it is Rachel she calls upon to help her when she becomes ill with her first pregnancy.
Secrets long hidden are coming to light, and Rachel's arrival to her twin sister's home may not be the best thing for either of them. When Rachel turn up pregnant, Leah's husband, Tobias, is more than ready to put Rachel out of their home for her adultery. But while Rachel is not confessing who the father is, her childhood friend, Judah King, desperately wants to make her his wife even though she has a child. When the baby's life is at stake, will the partner in her sin come forward to save little Eli's life?
This novel is in a genre all it's own; Amish, suspense, and re-told classic all rolled into one! Naturally, the story line itself is of great interest to anyone who has read the scarlet letter (or researched it well enough to write school reports on it!) but while I have never read the original tale, this one was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity! I was completely blown away by the tension throughout this book, and the page turning action and conflicts had me at the edge of my seat. It is unique, poignant, and an unforgettable saga of love, betrayal, forgiveness and mercy.
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Review 16 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 31, 2013
From the cover of the book this work is being touted as a retelling of The Scarlet Letter with an Amish setting. Just as the original the themes that permeate the story are that of legalism, sin and guilt. Unlike the original Rachel is not made to wear an outward sign marking her as an adulteress but she still becomes an outcast especially when she refuses to name the father of her child.
There are other similarities that I will leave up to you to find so as not to give away too much of the plot line. I do have to say that after the beginning of the novel the storyline quickly deviates from the original. If you are a purist this may upset you but for me I thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. Petersheim made the story her own. I’ll give you a little hint . . . this telling ends much better than the original.
Even though this is her debut novel I found it to be well crafted. The storyline moved along quickly with enough detail to make sense but not get bogged down in the trivial. I enjoyed the complexity of the characters and at the end of the story I was already wondering what happened next. Jolina Petersheim is definitely a name I will be looking for.
I received a book to facilitate my review.
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Review 17 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very Well Written Book

Date:August 27, 2013
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rlighthouse
Location:PA
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I was so excited to read this book after seeing previews and I wasn't disappointed.
Leah and Rachel are twin sisters who grew up in an old order Mennonite community in Pennsylvania. Leah married a widower in Tennessee and asked Rachel to come live with her new family and help her after finding herself on bed rest with her first child. A few months later the truth is revealed that Rachel is also expecting her first child but she does not have a husband. Rachel keeps silent to protect the baby's father. The story is told by Rachel and Amos, the dead father of Rachel's brother-in-law.
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Review 18 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Outcast

Date:August 26, 2013
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bookworm
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Outcast is a modern-day retelling of the great classic, The Scarlett Letter. Rachel and Leah are twin sisters from an old-order Mennonite community. When Leah marries widower, Tobias, she leaves Pennsylvania to move in with her new husband in Tennessee leaving Rachel behind. However, due to Leah’s rough pregnancy, Rachel moves in to help her sister and Tobias’s children until Leah recuperates. While Rachel helps her sister, a scandal erupts in the Mennonite community when unwed Rachel is found to be pregnant. When Rachel refuses to the father nor repent, she is ostracized and eventually thrown out of the community by Tobias, who has become the community’s bishop after his father dies. When Rachel’s employer, Ida Mae finds that Rachel has been kicked out of the community, she takes Rachel and her son into her own home where a friendship blossoms. Meanwhile, Tobias’s little brother, Judah, has been in love with Rachel since childhood. Though he is hurt by Rachel’s betrayal, his love for her is too strong to let her go. He asks her to marry him but when she turns him down, he leaves town feeling crushed. As the months pass, Rachel notices something not quite right with her son, Eli and she takes him to the doctor, where he is diagnosed with cancer. With the diagnosis, Rachel and Ida Mae struggle with the effects of the chemo that young Eli must go through to cure him. However, when the chemo fails, the only hope that Eli has of survival is a bone marrow transplant from a sibling. Will Rachel confess who Eli’s father is? Will Judah return to stand by Rachel’s side to help fight for Eli? Will a bone marrow donor be found for Eli before it is too late? In order to find out the answers, you will have to read the book.
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Review 19 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Tragic Drama, Difficult Themes, Very Well Written

Date:August 25, 2013
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eb7bibliophile
Location:High Desert West
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book is for mature readers, as was the classic The Scarlet Letter. They both deal with adultery, shame, and scandal. There is much tragedy in this story, but the repentance, forgiveness and redemption are well portrayed. I felt that the viewpoint of a deceased person was an interesting diversion from the usual kind of narrative voice. Somehow, the author even made it believable. Be ready for several narrative viewpoints. There are twists to the plot but a lot of sadness. There was strength of character, and a lot of love, as well. I did agree that sometimes repentance and redemption can be miraculous, and I was hoping for it. The characters were mostly well developed, except we know almost nothing about Tobias’ older children. I had to concentrate to remember who they were when mentioned. It did not detract from the story, though, as they were minor characters. This book is more for the life lessons than for entertainment but very touching and well presented.
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Review 20 for The Outcast - eBook
This review is fromThe Outcast.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Compelling Read

Date:August 18, 2013
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KavR
Location:Canada
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a sobering book. There is a distinct absence of light-hearted moments but it is a gripping, often dark tale that I found compelling to read. The author draws on her family Mennonite history to lend real authenticity to a gritty story about condemnation and ultimately forgiveness. It was hard to read at times because I'd become so infuriated over the injustice of it all! I'd have to give way to a bout of ranting before I could continue on with the story.
This is Petersheim's debut novel and I was really struck by her maverick writing style. Chapters alternate between Rachel's first person point of view and the omnipotent point of view from a recently deceased bishop who narrates the scenes dealing with all the other characters. It was a bit jarring at first and I found it difficult to adjust to this particular literary rhythm.
Definitely a different look at the popular Mennonite/Amish genre and certainly a read I won't soon forget.
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