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Rodion Krylov
Rodion Krylov

A Review of The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim: A Powerful and Moving Novel of Sin and Grace

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim: A Modern Retelling of The Scarlet Letter


If you are looking for a captivating and emotional novel that explores the themes of sin, forgiveness, love, betrayal, faith, and community, you might want to check out The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim. This book is a modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic The Scarlet Letter, set in an Old Order Mennonite community in Tennessee.

The Outcast Jolina Petersheim Epub Reader

What is The Outcast about?

The Outcast tells the story of Rachel Stoltzfus, a strong-willed single woman who is shunned by her religious sect when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. She refuses to name the father of her child, who is none other than Tobias King, the bishop and her brother-in-law. Tobias is hiding his own secrets and guilt, while his younger brother Judah is secretly in love with Rachel and willing to protect her and her baby. When Rachel's life and that of her child are threatened, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light and change the lives of everyone involved.

Who is Jolina Petersheim?

Jolina Petersheim is a bestselling author of Christian fiction, who has written five novels so far. She has a unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but she now lives in the mountains of Tennessee with her husband and three daughters. She draws inspiration from her own background and experiences to create realistic and compelling stories that touch the hearts of her readers.

Why should you read The Outcast?

The Outcast is a book that will keep you hooked from the first page to the last. It is a powerful and moving story that explores the human condition and the consequences of our actions. It also shows the grace and mercy of God and the possibility of redemption and healing. It is a book that will make you think, feel, and reflect on your own life and faith.

Main Body

The main characters of The Outcast

Rachel Stoltzfus

Rachel is the protagonist and one of the narrators of The Outcast. She is a 24-year-old woman who lives apart from mainstream society in an Old Order Mennonite community. She is independent, stubborn, loyal, and courageous. She loves her family and friends, but she also has a rebellious streak that leads her to question some of the rules and traditions of her community. She has a passion for photography and dreams of traveling the world. She falls in love with Tobias King, who seduces her and impregnates her. She refuses to repent or reveal his identity, even when she faces ostracism and persecution from her people. She suffers a lot throughout the story, but she also grows stronger and wiser.

Judah King

Judah is the other narrator and the love interest of Rachel. He is a 26-year-old man who is the younger brother of Tobias King, the bishop. He is kind, gentle, honest, and faithful. He has a talent for woodworking and carpentry. He has always loved Rachel, but he never had the courage to tell her. He is devastated when he learns that she is pregnant with his brother's child, but he still decides to stand by her and help her. He is the only one who knows the truth about Tobias and his sins. He struggles with his feelings for Rachel and his loyalty to his brother and his community.

Tobias King

Tobias is the antagonist and the father of Rachel's child. He is a 32-year-old man who is the bishop and the leader of the Old Order Mennonite community. He is married to Leah, who is Rachel's sister. He is respected and feared by his people, but he is also a hypocrite and a manipulator. He has a dark past that haunts him and drives him to do evil things. He abuses his power and authority to control and hurt Rachel and Judah. He is tormented by his guilt and his conscience, but he also refuses to admit his faults or seek forgiveness.

The themes of The Outcast

Sin and forgiveness

One of the main themes of The Outcast is sin and forgiveness. The book shows how sin affects not only the individual, but also the people around them and the whole community. It also shows how different people react to sin and deal with its consequences. Some people, like Rachel, are honest and brave enough to face their sin and accept their punishment. Some people, like Judah, are compassionate and forgiving enough to love and help those who have sinned. Some people, like Tobias, are proud and stubborn enough to deny their sin and blame others for their problems. The book also shows how God's grace and mercy can overcome sin and bring healing and restoration.

Love and betrayal

Another theme of The Outcast is love and betrayal. The book shows how love can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how it is expressed and received. It also shows how betrayal can be both a cause and a result of sin, depending on how it is committed and confronted. Some people, like Rachel and Judah, experience true love that is selfless, pure, loyal, and sacrificial. Some people, like Tobias and Leah, experience false love that is selfish, lustful, deceitful, and abusive. Some people, like Rachel and Tobias, betray their loved ones by breaking their vows and trust. Some people, like Judah and Leah, are betrayed by their loved ones by being lied to and cheated on.

Faith and community

A third theme of The Outcast is faith and community. The book shows how faith can be both a source of strength and a source of conflict, depending on how it is understood and practiced. It also shows how community can be both a support system and a pressure system, depending on how it is organized and governed. Some people, like Rachel and Judah, have a personal faith that is based on their relationship with God and their conscience. Some people, like Tobias and the elders, have a legalistic faith that is based on their rules and traditions. Some people, like Rachel's parents and friends, have a supportive community that is based on love and acceptance. Some people, like Tobias' followers and enemies, have a divisive community that is based on fear and judgment.

The style and structure of The Outcast

Dual narration

The Outcast is written in the first-person point of view, alternating between the perspectives of Rachel and Judah. This style allows the reader to get inside the minds of both characters and understand their thoughts, feelings, motivations, and actions. It also creates suspense and tension as the reader learns information that one character knows but the other does not.

Modern setting

The Outcast is set in the present day in Copper Creek, Tennessee, where an Old Order Mennonite community lives apart from mainstream society. This setting allows the reader to see how the ancient story of The Scarlet Letter can be relevant and relatable to modern readers. It also creates contrast and conflict as the reader sees how the Old Order Mennonites interact with the outside world.

Symbolism and allusion

The Outcast uses symbolism and allusion to enrich its meaning and message. For example, Rachel's baby girl is named Mercy, forgiveness and grace. Rachel also wears a red scarf, which alludes to the scarlet letter that Hester Prynne wore in Hawthorne's novel. The red scarf symbolizes Rachel's sin and shame, but also her courage and dignity. Judah also carves a wooden cross, which alludes to the cross that Jesus Christ died on. The wooden cross symbolizes Judah's love and sacrifice, but also his hope and salvation.


Summary of the main points

In conclusion, The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim is a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter that follows the lives of Rachel Stoltzfus, Judah King, and Tobias King in an Old Order Mennonite community. The book explores the themes of sin and forgiveness, love and betrayal, faith and community through its well-drawn characters, engaging plot, and powerful message. The book also uses dual narration, modern setting, symbolism and allusion to create a captivating and emotional story that will touch the hearts of its readers.

Recommendation and rating

I highly recommend The Outcast to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction, Amish fiction, or historical fiction. It is a book that will make you cry, laugh, and think. It is a book that will challenge you to examine your own life and faith. It is a book that will inspire you to seek God's grace and mercy. I give The Outcast a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.


Here are some frequently asked questions about The Outcast and their answers.

  • Is The Outcast based on a true story?

  • No, The Outcast is not based on a true story. However, it is inspired by the author's own Amish and Mennonite heritage and experiences.

  • Is The Outcast part of a series?

  • No, The Outcast is a standalone novel. However, the author has written other books that are set in the same or similar communities.

  • What are some other books like The Outcast?

  • Some other books like The Outcast are The Midwife, The Alliance, and The Divide by Jolina Petersheim; The Confession, The Shunning, and The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis; Atonement Child, Redeeming Love, and The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers; and The Scarlet Thread, Eve's Daughters, and A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers.

  • Where can I buy or read The Outcast?

  • You can buy or read The Outcast at these local retailers and wherever books are sold:, Barnes &,,,

  • How can I contact the author of The Outcast?

  • You can contact the author of The Outcast through her website: or her social media accounts: Facebook:; Twitter:; Instagram:



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