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The Outcast: A Modern Retelling of the Scarlet Letter

The Outcast: A Modern Retelling of the Scarlet Letter

Escrito por Jolina Petersheim

Narrado por Tavia Gilbert


The Outcast: A Modern Retelling of the Scarlet Letter

Escrito por Jolina Petersheim

Narrado por Tavia Gilbert

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (20 valoraciones)
Longitud:
9 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jul 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781621882596
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descripción

Rachel Stoltzfus never imagined she'd be the talk of her Old Order Mennonite community until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Unmarried and refusing to repent by naming the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most and eventually forced to leave - driven out by her twin sister's husband, 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, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing the lives of those who call Copper Creek home.
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jul 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781621882596
Formato:
Audiolibro


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20 valoraciones / 11 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (4/5)
    Rachel Stoltzfus has only ever know life as it is in the old order Mennonite community in which she is raised. However, an unplanned pregnancy ostracizes her from that community and her own family - even from her beloved sister. Wanting to help her sister, but also wanting to help her own child Rachel is faced with many difficult decisions as her story unfolds. Finances, health issues, and an unsympathetic father-in-law create plenty of drama for Rachel and for the reader. Fortunately there are also kindhearted characters who offer to help her navigate life as she is forced to become increasingly independent from her normal support system. In the end, I was drawn into her story I was rooting for her to find a way to make it on her own.You can't help but compare this story with The Scarlet Letter, and it explores the classic themes of that familiar story well. It's a bit more heavy than some Amish/Mennonite fiction, but offers a strong exploration of the emotional consequences of "shunning" and being judged by a rule bound society.
  • (5/5)
    Fantastic! Didn't want to put it down! Very talented author!
  • (4/5)
    A good story, though I struggled with some of the content. I am not sure I completely bought the storyline in places. However, it is uncomfortable content that you’d rather believe does not happen. We all know it does, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

    The characters were well-developed and clear. The narrator, Tavia Gilbert, is one of the absolute best vocal artists. This is the second book I’ve read by this author and will read others.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first book I have read by this author. It's also the first book I have read about the Plain Folk (the Amish, or the somewhat similar Old Mennonite). I liked the writing style of the author, as well as the story. While the characters in the book did endure many difficulties, there was also love, redemption, and restoration.
  • (2/5)
    This book was okay, but not phenomenal. I was bogged down with the insertion of random words of Pennsylvania Dutch, which didn't really add character to the book, especially when it was clear that you just plain couldn't read what the characters were speaking unless it was in English, so rather than add to the story, it detracted for me. Close to halfway through the book, it was just too predictable for me, not because it was a retelling of The Scarlet Letter, but that it appeared to be just like every other "romance" novel I've ever tried to read. I was very tired of reading it 3/4 of the way through, and barely finished it at all. I stayed up late to do so, so that I could get on with another book. It was an okay story. It just didn't grab me at all.
  • (4/5)
    I found this audiobook after listening to The Midwife, and after having enjoyed The Midwife so much, I was excited to have another book by the same author. I was not disappointed, either. Knowing that it was a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter, some plot points were predictable, but others were not,which was good. There were some plot points which also reminded me of the Biblical story of Jacob,the most obvious of which being that the twins around whom the story centers are Rachel and Leah. I am anxious for a new book by this author!
  • (5/5)
    There have been so many glowing reviews of Jolina Petersheim’s debut novel, The Outcast, that I was intrigued by this book. Add the fact that it was inspired by The Scarlet Letter, I knew I had to read it sooner than later. I purchased the audiobook and took off on my morning walks becoming immersed in Rachel’s life, her struggles and heartbreak. The Outcast was a book I just could not put down, er, turn off! Great writing, characters and plot — this novel has it all and gets a very highly recommended designation from me.Petersheim sets her story of betrayal, jealousy, and judgment in an Old Order Mennonite community. Forgiveness is available, but only if repentance comes first. But not all sins are brought to light, and hypocrisy and pride drive innocents out into the world.As stated, The Outcast is inspired by The Scarlet Letter. If your high school experience with that novel was less than enjoyable, don’t let that fact keep you from reading this book. Petersheim’s voice is fresh and accessible for her readers. Characters are real and relatable. The dual points of view of Rachel and a recently deceased Amos give fascinating and insightful glimpses into the heart of the characters. The faith message of God’s love, forgiveness and restoration runs throughout the novel. The Outcast also echoes the story of Rachel and Leah from the book of Genesis. — a nice touch. Petersheim also does a great job of exploring the impact of cancer on the entire family.The Outcast is a winner in my book!Very Highly Recommended.Great for Book Clubs.Audience: adults.
  • (5/5)
    According to the cover on this book, this story is a modern day retelling of The Scarlet Letter. I know a little bit of what that story is about, but I have never read it, so I can't really say how this book compares. I can say though, that I thoroughly enjoyed this well written story, and you do not even have to be familiar with The Scarlet Letter before reading The Outcast; this story stands alone well.Rachel Stoltzfus was raised in an Old Order Mennonite community. While she is living with her sister Leah and her husband Tobias after Leah suffers from health complications after giving birth to her first child, Rachel herself gives birth to a child out of wedlock. She is shunned by the community after refusing to name the father, and Tobias, who is also the bishop, forces her to leave. Rachel is strong-willed, and content living away from the community with Ida Mae Speck, the eccentric storekeeper who takes her and her infant son Eli in. But when Eli is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, choices must be made that will bring dark secrets into the light, forever changing the lives of those involved.What I enjoyed most about this story was that it is not your typical Amish/Mennonite fiction; while it includes themes of hope, redemption and forgiveness, the tone of the story doesn't feel religious or "preachy" like some books of this genre do. I also liked Ida Mae's story; it had an unexpected twist in the early part of the book and I was just as interested in her back story as I was Rachel's.
  • (4/5)
    The Outcast tells the story in a rather unusual fashion: we have Rachel, our main character, telling a chapter in her voice, then we have Amos, her twin sister Leah's father-in-law, narrating the alternating chapters. This is an unusual method of storytelling, because Amos (the Bishop) is being buried on the first page of the book. Amos is important to the story as he is the father of Tobias King- the new Bishop and leader of the community- and Judah, the younger brother whom everyone assumed would marry Rachel. Amos tells the story from the wide-angle view he is afforded in Heaven, so his version of the tale is told as the main narrator, while Rachel tells it from her first-person perspective.

    Rachel, a nineteen year old young woman from the Old Mennonite order, is living with her twin sister and brother-in-law in Tennessee. Leah is confined to bed rest with a difficult pregnancy and also weakness after the birth of her child, because her husband doesn't believe in using "English" doctors (non-Mennonite). We discover right away that Rachel is pregnant and unmarried, a grave sin according to her religion and culture, and when her condition finally shows, she is shunned by everyone. Tobias is disgusted with her impurity and wants her to leave his home and his wife forever. Rachel now has to decide how she can support herself or possibly get back into the good graces of her community. If she would name the father of her baby and ask for forgiveness the Church will accept her back under certain terms, but Rachel feels she is not able to divulge the father's identity without scandalous repercussions. A secondary character, Ida Mae, is a lot of fun to read about--a former Mennonite who runs a gift shop in town and drives the van for the religious community when a buggy will not do, because they cannot drive cars themselves.


    I enjoyed this story very much. It is quite different than what I usually read, but using the Mennonite community to mirror the one in the classic The Scarlet Letter is a great idea and plays out well. There is even a great scene where Rachel drops a glass jar of preserved beets and the scarlet juice stains her face and dress. This is the first time in a very long time that I have read a story taking place in the Old Mennonite and/or Amish community, but the subtitle referring to The Scarlet Letter drew me in. I read the classic back in high school, and I remember the main theme of the novel, if not too many of the finer details. The name Hester Pryne came to mind immediately, even after all this time. I recommend this book of hypocrisy, prejudice, women as inferior citizens, romance, and forgiveness, to almost anyone! 4 stars
    ~provided by Netgalley for a fair and honest review~
  • (5/5)
    "He shakes his head and smiles, swallows his small mouthful of food. For a country-raised Mennonite, he has impeccable manners, which only emphasizes my belief that you can look the part of the honored bishop but still be a barbarian inside."Written in an engaging combination of voices, Jolina Petersheim’s stunning debut novel, The Outcast, tells the story of a young Mennonite woman battling a secret foe, one whose position in their community offers him the perfect opportunity to hurt her, and keep her from his younger brother, Judah, the man she is meant to be with.The two brothers are “Bout as different as Cain and Abel,” to quote Ida Mae."Judah and I had our own secret language, and sheathed in its safety, he would often confide how desperately he wanted to leave this world for the larger one beyond it. A world he had explored only through the books he would purchase at Root’s Market when his father wasn’t looking and read until the pages were sticky with the sweat of a thousand secret turnings."The setting is a Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonite community. Rachel, Leah’s twin, is unmarried, but she has delivered a son out of wedlock, a shunning offense in their small community. She refuses to reveal the identity of the father. There is more behind her refusal than simply wanting to protect the man. Leah, her twin, is married to a pillar in the community; a bishop, whose dark, disapproval and obvious dislike of Rachel contribute to her being thrown out to live in the world of the Englischer. There Rachel is befriended by Ida Mae:"Ida Mae hops down out of the cab. I look over while freeing Eli from his car seat and stifle a gasp. This is the first time I’ve seen her outside the truck, and I never noticed that she was short. Her legs, squashed into Wranglers so tight they must be cutting off her circulation, are the same as a chicken’s: plump at the top but narrowing down to ankles that are as bony as mine. She wears mud-caked boots that lace up, and as she stalks off toward her Amish store, I see there’s a perfect worn circle on the backside of her jeans from where she keeps her tobacco tin."Ida Mae has a tragic secret, buried for years. Rachel uncovers hints of what it might be, but never comes close to imagining the truth until her own son is in danger. The full force of what Ida Mae has survived comes to light, revealing the ultimate clash of the Englischer and Plain worlds.In early reviews The Outcast has been compared to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. There is a strong thematic resemblance, but it also shares a lot in common structurally with Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, in that it is narrated, in part, by a ghost. Amos is a thoroughly likable elder who has passed, but his concern for his family draws him back again and again to watch over them. His poignant perspective is saddened by what he can no longer influence or correct, and the reader feels his regret build as events unfold. He can see into the hearts of the other characters, but is unable to do anything to help, his time on earth being over. His narration adds a level of depth that would be missing without him. The Outcast offers a glimpse into a world that exists separately, yet right alongside the common one of TVs, cars and computers. The plot has tension from start to finish, some nice twists, and a good surprise ending that will have the reader chewing her nails. Petersheim has a surprisingly mature voice and writing style for a young author. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and look forward to this author’s next.
  • (4/5)
    Did you read The Scarlet Letter and think that could never happen today? First time novelist, Jolina Petersheim brilliantly brings Hawthorn?s classic novel into the present with The Outcast. Rachel, unwilling to repent and reveal the identity of the baby?s father, is forced to leave her Mennonite community. She finds refuge with a kind woman, Ida Mae, who offers her a job and a home. It seems she has left her old life behind until she discovers her child is sick and returns to the Mennonite community she left behind where she must face her family and her sin.