Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter by Jolina Petersheim

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
Fraught with symbolism, this story is a Biblically influenced retelling of The Scarlet Letter. Rachel and Leah are twins and of course, following the Biblical example, Rachel is the one who is desired and Leah is not. Following the same tale, Leah is married to Tobias, the Bishop of their old order Mennonite community after his first wife dies leaving him with children who need a mother.
Like The Scarlet Letter, when Rachel becomes pregnant outside of marriage, she is shunned or very nearly so and does not reveal who the father is, but even so, it is considered her fault since she must have been a harlot to seduce a man when she was not married. Tobias's brother Judah is a bit of a Christ figure, forgiving everyone. The children suffer from the sins of the parents, and play a big part in the story. Part of the story is told by Amos, the deceased father of Tobias and Judah and that was my least favorite aspect of the whole story. All in all though, it is a well told story and I enjoyed it very much. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

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