Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim


My face burns with the heat of a hundred stares. No one is looking at Amos King's handmade casket as they are all too busy looking at me. Even Tobias cannot hide his disgust when he reaches out a hand, and then realizes he has not extended it towards his angelic wife, who was too weak to come, but to her fallen twin. Drawing the proffered hand back, Tobias buffs the knuckles against his jacket as if to clean them and slips his hand beneath the Bible. All the while his black eyes remain fixed on me until Eli emits a whimper that awakens the new bishop to consciousness.

Title: The Outcast
Author: Jolina Petersheim
ISBN: 9781414379340
Publisher: Tyndale House/2013
Pages: 400

Old Order Mennonite community

The novel is narrated in two voices, one by the protagonist, Rachel Stoltzfus, and the other is Amos King, who is being buried right in the first chapter. The four main characters in the novel are Rachel and her identical twin, Leah,  Tobias and his brother, Jacob. Leah is married to Tobias. Jacob has always been in love with Rachel.

Now that would have been so ideal, two brothers marrying two sisters. However, we find Rachel is an unwed mother of a few months old son, Eli. She has refused to divulge the name of the father of her child. For that she is shunned by her own family except for her twin sister, Leah. Rachel does not care much about what everyone thinks but cares deeply for her child and her sister. She is thrown out of the house by Tobias and a large hearted woman, Ida Mae takes her in. And then Rachel finds out that her son has Leukemia. She thinks her son is being punished for her sins.

The novel explores well the complexities of life. That is, lust, sin, betrayal, single parenting, family loyalties, conflict between religion and medicine, repentance and forgiveness. 

The Outcast is modern version of  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

15 comments:

Literary Feline said...

What a sad story! I would keep reading, based on the intro and description. I think I have this one in my TBR pile. :-)

Pat @ Posting For Now said...

This sounds great. I'd keep reading.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This one definitely sounds like one that would arouse emotions...thanks for sharing.

Here's mine: “THE ARSONIST”

Kim@Time2Read said...

This one has grabbed me already! I definitely want to read it! Adding to my list now!

Lindsay said...

Thanks for introducing this one to me, and enjoy bout of books too!

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

Sounds like an interesting novel. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Tea norman said...

I am reading about twins too in Saving Amelie. Guess the names of the twins, Rachel and Lea. Isn't that coincidental?

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) said...

Interesting premise! I loved The Scarlet Letter in high school.

Here's Mine: http://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/fiction/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday-intros-bittersweet-miranda-beverly-whittemore/

fredamans said...

Rachel sounds like one helluva woman. Great teaser and review!

kelley jensen said...

sounds good to me. enjoy your book. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I don't think this one is for me, but hope u like it.

Yvonne said...

This sounds really good!

Rachel said...

This sounds pretty good. I am a sucker for modern remakes of older books!

Peggy Farooqi said...

very interesting and I do like different voices in a book

stacybuckeye said...

Looks like it could be good told from the 2 different perspectives.