The Divide (Jolina Petersheim) – Review

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

Release date:  6 June 2017
Pages:  400
Publisher:  Tyndale

Amazon US  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong

~ Excerpt ~

I startle. So focused on my sibling failure, I didn’t hear Jabil approach.
He walks up and places his mackinaw around my shoulders. The fabric wafts of fish, sweat, and snow. “You shouldn’t be out in this,” he says. “It’s too cold.”
“I come out here all the time.”
Without touching me, he draws the lapels of his coat over my sodden wool coat beneath it. “I know.”
The acceptance in his voice makes me restless. I bend to pick up the ax, but he moves faster than I, slipping it into the rucksack on his back—the stringer of fish trapped in his other hand. Keen for a reprieve from the elements, the rest of the men do not wait for us; they continue hiking together up the trail, their boots marring the runner of snow.
Jabil extends his hand before him as if to say, “Shall we walk?” It’s a gallant gesture, which seems inconsistent with his rugged appearance. However, my own appearance shows how very kind Jabil’s gesture is. The tide of post-EMP destruction feels to have swept away my femininity, like every other woman’s.
He asks as we begin copying the anglers’ steps, “See anyone while we were gone?”
“No. You?”
“Two guys trapping.” He pauses. “Making their way to Kalispell.”
“What’s in Kalispell?”
“The airport.”
I look over at him. “They think they can fly from there?”
“No. They want to join the militia.”
My heart pounds. I sense Jabil studying me, as if attempting to pinpoint the reason I chose this day—a harsh, bitter day—to split firewood for the community when he made sure we had a plentiful supply before he left. I don’t tell him why, for there’s no need.
As the perimeter’s gate opens to admit us, and Jabil pulls it open further to let me slip past him, I know—and he knows—that the person I was waiting for today, and every day, was Moses Hughes. The former soldier whose plane crashed in our field the same day the EMP turned my life upside down. Moses is the one I cannot forget. The one who—despite his absence and my own better judgment—I am waiting for. The one I cannot leave behind.

~ Review ~

Oh my. Gripping conclusion is right! I really didn’t want to put this one down. Jolina Petersheim has crafted a story that hooks into both the emotions and the intellect, because there is no clear-cut path for these characters to tread. When it comes down to a choice between surviving and showing compassion, which do you choose? Does pacifism require you to passively accept whatever is forced upon you? How do you defend yourselves without losing your humanity and respect for life? And when a good and faithful man waits patiently and stands with you while your heart yearns for another who is far off, at what point do you choose to love the man in front of you and accept the love and security he offers?

These are just some of the choices that Moses, Leora, Jabil, and the communities they are a part of must grapple with, and the tension is like a tautly held thread intricately woven throughout the novel. Human nature is never so exposed as when survival is the day-to-day occupation, and while there are other novels that have explored how this could play out (I will never forget having to read Lord of the Flies in high school!), The Divide brings a unique perspective with its Mennonite community setting.

As powerful as the premise is, there is something about the quiet passion in Jolina Petersheim’s writing and her characters (and the romance!) that captivates me even more. Her use of imagery and subtext is subtle, but highly evocative, and her characters seek to follow their consciences before God with strength and resolve. I wish I could tell you how much that affected me with one particular character, but that would be a major spoiler!

Even if dystopian is not your usual genre, I encourage you to pick up both The Alliance and The Divide. Totally captivating!

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ Other Books in the Series ~

 Read my review of The Alliance.

~ About the Author ~

Jolina Petersheim

Jolina Petersheim is the critically-acclaimed author of The Alliance, The Midwife, and The Outcast, which Library Journal called “outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational” in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. That book also became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Tennessean. CBA Retailers + Resources called her second book, The Midwife, “an excellent read [that] will be hard to put down,” and Booklist selected The Alliance as one of their Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Titles for 2016. Jolina’s nonfiction writing has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest, and Today’s Christian Woman.

She and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their two young daughters.

Connect with Jolina:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, New Releases, Speculative Fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Divide (Jolina Petersheim) – Review

  1. Thank you for this incredible review of The Divide, Katie; I am so grateful for your support, especially knowing how busy you are, running after your kiddos (as I am busy, running after mine.) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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