Book recommendation: The Outcast
It’s inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, but Jolina sets her modern novel in an Old Order Mennonite Community, mostly in Tennessee with a few scenes in Lancaster County. She creatively weaves the story of Rachel Stoltzfus, an unwed mother determined not to reveal the father of her baby. When the little one’s life becomes at risk, Rachel is faced with a deepening crisis that goes far beyond herself as it challenges the morals of both her family and her community.
Jolina’s Mennonite heritage gives this story an unusual depth as far as the setting and characterizations. Her insight into human nature, her lyrical writing, and her willingness to take risks as an author make this book sing. Jolina is another of the several young women I’ve started reading lately. I’m so impressed!
Even if you don’t like retellings and even if you’ve never read an Amish or Mennonite novel before, I recommend The Outcast. It’s a beautiful story.