Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Outcast



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.

My Review:

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.

Giveaway Opportunity:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The Outcast, please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday August 18 2013. Offer open to international readers. Good luck! 


  1. Huh, that's interesting about the style. I'm intrigued by the premise, and I imagine it's definitely not a lighthearted read if it's based on The Scarlet Letter... Even still, I'd appreciate a chance to win this and give it a try. :)

    Thanks for the review and giveaway!


  2. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Please enter me. Thanks!

    sunshine6892 at hotmail dot com

  3. It is interesting, isn't it Amber? Especially for a new author -- totally breaking the 'rules', Good luck!

    Consider yourself entered, Cathy!

  4. I also heard this was based on the Scarlet Letter. It sounds interestingly different. Please enter me.

    sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

  5. Would be interested in checking out the different writing style. Throw my name in the hat, please!

    ckbarker at gmail dot com

  6. You're both entered Boos Mum and Cheryl. Good luck!

  7. Thanks, Kav! Outcast sounds really interesting.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  8. The book sounds fascinating. Enjoyed your great review. Thank you for sharing and please enter me in the giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

  9. thanks for the chance to read this novel, kav

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  10. Your welcome, Jolina. Thanks for stopping by.

    You're in the draw, Karen. Good luck!

  11. Kav, thanks for the review. This really does sound different, but would love to win this book. Haven't read one by Jolina's books yet.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  12. I love first person narration! And to be honest, it's not done a lot in Christian fiction, at least in my experience with it. It's my favorite, so I always get excited when the character is speaking directly to me.

    I can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the chance to win!


  13. This sounds like a very interesting read. Would love to have a copy. Please accept my entry. Thank you.

  14. Maxie, this is Jolina's first book but she has another book in the works so I don't think we'll have long to wait! Good luck.

    Beth, I like first person narration too -- if it's done well. Oddly enough the powers that be in publishing land claims that it is not popular with readers and that's why they are so scarce. You're right though -- you really become one with the character when you're reading first POV. I really felt like I was inside Rachel's skin reading this book. Good luck in the draw!

    It is interesting, Mary Ellen. Good luck!

  15. I have tried before to win this book. I so very much want to read it. Thank you for another opportunity. My email is: clueless_one59 at yahoo dot com. Thanks again.

  16. Sounds like an interesting book. We have a lot of Amish where I live, but very few Mennonites. Do Mennonites live by similar laws as the Amish's Ordnung?

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of The Outcast.


  17. An unusual, but interesting, storyline - would like to read it. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


  18. This sounds fascinating! Thanks for the giveaway. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com