Michelle's Reviews > The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
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it was amazing
bookshelves: christianfiction, forreview, favorite-2013

Wow! Not since reading Cantrell's "Into the Free," have I been so emotionally moved by a story. There were so many things that this author did well. Her writing style is emotionally evocative, and her words are expressed with such beauty that I became fully immersed in the book. Her use of characters to bring out different truths was sheer perfection. I especially loved how she used Amos's point of view from the "great cloud of witnesses" as a way of showing omniscience, but in a much more compelling fashion that is typically seen in fiction. It added more complexity and depth to the plot and revealed things the reader might otherwise not have known.

The way the author slowly trickled in the facts that led up to the night Rachel's world imploded from one bad decision was extremely well done. It drew my attention like a mystery plot and kept me wondering, until a surge of emotion hit me when the secret was brought to light and the truth finally came out. The serious illness was a perfect conduit to provoke the needed revelation. The suffering Rachel felt while her son suffered was deep and profoundly written.

I loved Judah so much for so many reasons. His undying devotion going back to their childhood made him so heroic in my eyes. The pain he felt and the forgiveness he extended -- after releasing the anger that seemed very natural given the unsavory revelation -- made me want to weep for him. Even Tobias made my heart ache because of the true repentance he experienced. What a difference it can make when we own our actions and stop blaming others for our own sins, eh?

To sum things up, this was a fantastic book. In fact, of all the books that I've read this year, I think this one makes the top of my list. I read this entire book in a day. The premise intrigued me, but I've read many story plots that sounded great, but were weak in their execution. This was a powerful story on many levels. It is not a cookie cutter Amish/Mennonite plot, but unique and enthralling... for me as a reader. I normally won't read fiction about strict religious orders be they Amish or Mennonite, but this book surpassed my expectations. What a fantastic debut!
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Reading Progress

March 21, 2013 – Shelved
March 21, 2013 – Shelved as: christianfiction
March 21, 2013 – Shelved as: forreview
Started Reading
July 4, 2013 –
page 130
July 4, 2013 –
page 246
July 4, 2013 –
page 347
86.75% "Wow, this book is great!"
July 4, 2013 – Shelved as: favorite-2013
July 4, 2013 – Finished Reading

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