Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim

Title:  The Outcast (a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter)
Author:  Jolina Petersheim
Pages:  400
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Tyndale
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from
With the sequel to The Outcast, titled The Midwife, coming out next summer, please take time to read this first book that proves to be a very intriguing and captivating tale.  While it is subtitled as a modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, The Scarlet Letter, I found the contents to be richer than the classic or other versions of the story. 
There are many special earmarks that made this novel more meaningful to me than anything else like The Scarlet Letter in years.  In the classic tale, the woman who committed adultery is forced to wear the letter “A” on the front of her clothing so that everyone will know her sin of adultery.  The author takes that letter along with the sin it was meant to proclaim before all and weaves it into a tale that speaks to the reader’s heart.  If I were to share with you how she did this, I am afraid it would steal the joy of the journey for the audience which I don’t want to do.  I can say it impacted my heart and stole my breath away even after finishing the whole book.
Another gem in the writing is that no matter where the story is playing out there are many of us who will forget we are even reading a modern twist to a classic!  When the community comes together to hear the church, at times they also hear a sinner confess.  Then the person is forgiven and takes their place within the community again.  Humanity’s sinful nature is unwrapped tenderly and put forth in this fictional tale, reminding us that no one is sinless.  Yet when we are tempted, we always have choices. 
As I read I through the pages, it was very interesting to see how different characters reacted to either the Bishop’s order or would listen to gossip as if it were the truth, never thinking to actually look for the truth.  I thought the way the main protagonist was a twin and how the sin impacted their special bond was truly captivating.  The other characters in the tale will bring before the readers different reactions and responses that deepen the story behind the story.  A theme I continue to think on is how we can choose to repent or choose to remain prideful and unwilling to acknowledge the sin of pride that resides very deep within the heart.  Since it resides so deeply, we need God through the Lord Jesus Christ to change us because we are so unable to change ourselves!  Don’t pass up the opportunity to read the novel or give one away during this holiday time.
My rating is 5+ stars.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

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