The Divide

The Divide

by Jolina Petersheim


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The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496402226
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Series: Alliance Series
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 553,981
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Divide

A Novel


Tyndale House Publishers

Copyright © 2017 Jolina Petersheim
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0222-6




You never know how hard something's going to be until it's too late to change your mind. As I watch Leora ride away on the back of Jabil's horse — her loose, dark hair snapping like a pennant — I have to fight the urge to go after her. But I know, for her sake and for the sake of her Mennonite community, I have to remain.

It's a good thing I do. About ten minutes later, part of the perimeter collapses with a movement as graceful and altering as an ice cliff sliding into the sea. Hot coals shower the ground. Smoke rises. I crouch behind the scaffolding, preparing to defend the property as long as I can so the families have enough time to escape into the mountains.

The first man steps through, his figure a blur in the choking haze. I adjust my rifle, trying to find the man in the scope. I'm not fast enough. Another man runs in, and another. The fourth one pauses for only a second, but that second costs him his life. I shoot a few more times, and then I stop to reload, pressing rounds into the chamber one by one, but my fingers are shaking. I look up to see a man leveling a gun at me. My body braces for impact, which is ludicrous. You can't brace yourself for something like that. I take a shot in the stomach and fall to my knees. I try to get to my feet but stumble until I'm sitting back in the dirt. I support my upper body by bracing my left arm on the ground and using my right arm to hold my abdomen.

There's so much adrenaline coursing through me that I don't feel pain. Instead, staring down at the wound, I feel only disappointment. The community's lives are resting in my hands because their pacifist ideals won't allow them to fight back against the gang, even to protect their families, and now I am not sure what will become of them. This thought brings with it the first wave of debilitating pain and nausea. I should be grateful Leora left with Jabil, for even without raising a weapon, he could probably do a better job of protecting her than I. But I can't help wishing I could relive these past hard weeks, starting when I crashed in her meadow to the moment — just an hour ago — when we kissed in front of the burning perimeter, the community's last line of defense, which somehow helped put Leora's and my own defenses into place.

I hope Jabil makes her happy. I hope he loves her the way I would, if our world weren't so messed up. But it is. I let the pain sweep me under. Oblivion is easier than reality.


Believing Moses good as dead, the gang rushes past him.

I have been hiding in the shadows of Field to Table, waiting on the off chance that Moses might need me. And now he does. I study him a moment, aware that he will die out there if I don't help him, and yet aware I might die if I do. I think of my son, Colton, on his way up the mountain, and realize there's no point keeping myself safe for him if I never use my life to do any good. Taking a breath, I duck low and dart past Field to Table, the lane, and the blanket of coals where the fallen perimeter once stood. Moses is lying on the ground, the front of his shirt soaked with blood. My first thought is that he is actually dead, and then I see movement as his body involuntarily strains for air.

The gang seems so intent on finding things of value, and being the first to wreck the next house, they do not notice us behind them. I understand they are going to pillage and probably burn the rest of the community to the ground, and I suppose I should care. But I don't. I don't care about anything but getting Moses out of here alive. I drag him by his boots under the scaffolding and press the side of my face to his mouth. His ragged breath fills the curl of my ear. He opens his eyes. Though he appears disoriented, I can tell he comprehends what's happening. I lift Moses up as gently as possible and feel behind his back. There's a wet spot about the size of my hand. I don't know as much about healing as I claimed when I got that deacon to let me stay at Mt. Hebron, but I do know it's good the bullet appears to have gone straight through.

I shrug off my parka and my warm shirt. Shivering in my tank top, I use the shirt to stanch the blood. The gang works their way closer. Only seconds before they see us. I grab Moses again by the boots, and it takes every ounce of my strength to drag him over to the store and get him inside. His head bumps against the separation where the double doors lock into place, but I figure he won't mind a headache as much as he would mind whatever the gang will do to him if they discover he's alive after picking off some of their men.

I take a break, breathing hard, and check Moses's wound. He is bleeding out, but I have no other choice: he can't stay in the entrance. Hooking my hands behind his armpits, I continue dragging him past the store's emptied cooler section to the narrow hall. There are two doors, positioned side by side. The first leads to a unisex bathroom with no mirror above the pedestal sink; the second leads to the mechanical room. I push this door wider and drag Moses into it. Inside, I notice a large furnace along the back wall. Behind it is just enough space. I move him there and hurriedly back up to make sure he can't be seen from any side. Dust furs the vents of the furnace, and dead moths appear like bits of shiny paper on the floor. Though my eyes take in these details, I don't really see anything. I slip in behind Moses and hold him like an overgrown child. I try to keep the life in his body, even though blood drips warm down my hand.

An hour seems to pass, but I have no idea how long it's actually been. Spasms jerk the muscles of my back, and my tailbone feels bruised from my position between Moses and the wall. He drifts in and out of consciousness. His breathing is steady, but so's the blood flow from the gunshot wound. We have to get out of here, but there's nowhere to go. Why don't they come?

The answer arrives soon enough, with the sound of glass shattering at the front of the building. My heart in my throat, I visualize the gang's movements — trashing their way from the cash registers, to the café, to us ... down the hall. The overlap of footsteps and voices. Light from a torch passing by the crack beneath the door. The bathroom door opens next to us. I hold Moses tighter, his body now limp against me, and hope against hope that he won't make a sound.

The door to the mechanical room opens, the rubber seal scraping along the uneven cement. Shadows cast by the torch loom across the wall as a man steps inside. I tremble as he yanks open an old metal cabinet that hangs near the entrance. After a minute of searching, he slams the cabinet doors shut. The torchlight grows brighter, and the sound of the crackling pine louder than before. Not even daring to breathe, I remain frozen as I clench Moses against me. Suddenly, as if satisfied there's nothing of use to him in this room, the man turns and leaves.

The entire store building grows quiet. Slowly, I try to change position and listen. Moses stirs. I hold him for a little longer and then whisper, "I think they're gone." Tears of relief and sadness burn my eyes. My first words since I gave my son away.

* * *

Moses can no longer stand, he is so weak from the blood he lost while walking ten miles from the burned community to town. His spine is curled forward, his folded arms braced on his knees. I look back through the warehouse's right window and almost jump out of my skin. A pair of dark eyes are staring at me, the facial features appearing distorted through the fractured glass. The eyes narrow. Shuffled steps precede the clatter of rotating bolts and locks. The right door opens. A sun-battered head sticks out, draped with a tangled mane of silver hair. I turn and point at Moses, as if I am the one who refuses to speak and not my grandmother, Papina, who uses silence to communicate her grief. She raises an eyebrow and twists her lips, the combination creating a fault line of wrinkles.

"It was dark," I explain. "Moses was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Papina turns her eyes from me and looks at the man in question. She taps her bare foot, and then she waves a rangy arm — jangling with bracelets — toward the warehouse.

I nod my thanks and walk back to Moses. "My grandmother will look at you."

He doesn't respond. I go down a step and gently tilt back his head. The skin of his face, not covered by his beard, is ruddy, and the V of his T-shirt outlined with sweat. I crouch and put an arm around his shoulders, forcing him to his feet. He wobbles upward, like a drunk. The trip to Liberty obviously battered him further, but if I had left him at Field to Table, he would've died. He could still die. But at least he has a chance now that he's here.

Papina, standing at the top of the steps, shakes her head and descends when she sees Moses can no longer walk on his own. I turn his body, and she tries to support him by wrapping her arm around his hip. Together, we work our way up the crumbling flight. Once we reach the landing, my grandmother goes inside. I stay close behind Moses in case he collapses. He hauls his feet over the threshold and leans against the wall.

Needless to say, the old T-shirt factory's locks can't keep people out. Even before the EMP, the factory was a playground for teenagers wanting to cut their teeth on petty crime. Refugees — scrawny and interchangeable in their androgynous wardrobes of grime — are now sprawled on mats scattered here and there across the concrete floor. Papina brings over one of these mats, plops it on the tile, and motions for Moses to sit. He can't see her because his face is lifted to the ceiling, the cords of his neck shimmering and taut. I step over the mat and take his elbow. He jolts and glances at me, fever in his eyes. I grab another mat. Placing them side by side, I take off my parka, drape it over the pallet, and help him sit down.

He stays still for an instant, and then draws up his legs. My grandmother comes out of the room to the right and sits beside Moses, her layers of skirts sweeping up the dust. She peels his arms from around his shins and puts a hand on his chest, forcing his torso down until he is lying on his back. She lifts his T-shirt and examines the skin around the stitches I made, using the needle and thread from a cheap sewing kit I found under a shelf at Field to Table.

Less than a day has passed since I sewed him up, and yet I can already see how the stitches are cinched and oozing, that thin tributaries of red are spreading from the unruly, spider-black stripe. I wonder if I killed him with infection in my botched attempt to heal. Cursing, I move from behind my grandmother and walk to the other side. She passes me a flask from one of the bottomless pockets of her skirts. I take it and look at her, awaiting my orders. Papina points to Moses's stomach and mimes pouring liquor over the wound. I don't know why she doesn't do it herself, but I unscrew the cap and obey her instruction. Moses slurps his breath in through his teeth, and then peeks at what I am pouring over the stitches. He reaches for the flask. I attempt to pass it, but Papina frowns and intercepts me. Screwing on the cap, she slips it into her pocket. Apparently her generosity has limits.

Moses gives my grandmother a sidelong glance. She pulls his shirt up higher and palpates the area around his wound. Pulling the shirt down, she shrugs.

I explain, "Looks like the wound's infected. I shouldn't have sewed you up."

Moses tries propping himself on his elbows. He grimaces and lies back down. Somewhere in the warehouse, a refugee hollers, and then abruptly goes silent, like a radio switching off. We all three turn toward the sound. Papina rises to check it out.

I turn back to Moses. It feels awkward, being just the two of us again, which is strange, considering that — for hours — I put pressure on his bullet wound to keep him alive.

I ask, "You remember anything?"

He swallows before speaking. "I remember the perimeter falling and the gang coming in." A pause as he gathers his thoughts. "And I remember getting shot, but I don't remember much after that. I have no idea if the community made it up the mountain in time."

"I'm sure they're okay." I touch his arm. "I'm sure Leora's okay too. You did a brave thing, Moses." He doesn't respond, just keeps his eyes closed, so it's easy for me to say, "I know how you're feeling right now, being separated from someone you love. I gave my son, Colton, to Leora because I knew he'd have a better life with her than he would here, with me." Moses finally opens his eyes and looks over, the blue of his irises swimming with either fever or fatigue. "I never said I loved her."

I think to myself, You don't have to.

* * *

The refugees are nightly drawn from foraging in the streets back to the warehouse, like chickens returning to their coop. Papina holds out her hands as each files through and accepts whatever pilfered item she deems valuable enough to cover room and board: canned food, jewelry, bullets, toiletry items. I scoot across the floor, closer to Moses, which is laughable. He can offer me no protection as he thrashes in his sleep, his cheeks stained with fever. I would feed him ice, but ice is now such an impossible concept, it seems more like a dream.

Most of these refugees tramp upstairs, where the worst of the lot stay. A few others remain on the main floor, with Moses and me. I can tell they are new to the warehouse and its occupants by the worry flaring in their eyes as they squint toward the candlelit corners of the room, perhaps searching for a recognizable face. I, in fact, recognize two of the five refugees. The first is a twentysomething woman with straw- blonde hair who used to work at Burt's Grocery. The second was a lifeguard at Liberty's public pool.

Neither of them seem to recognize me, even though the guy — Travis, I think — dropped out of high school the same year I did. Despite my long dark hair and distinct Kutenai features, for years I've perfected the ability to blend in with any crowd, since becoming a hodgepodge of everyone around me is far less painful than getting picked on for standing out.

My cousin Alex files through next. My grandmother grins and embraces him, making no attempt to hide the fact he's her favorite grandchild, just as Uncle Mike is Papina's favorite son. I get to my feet. Alex glances up as I stride toward him.

"Hey, hey, Sal," he croons. "Where've you been hiding?"

"None of your business." My tone is flat. I've never cared for Alex's overblown display of charm and affection, especially when I know he likes me as much — or as l ittle — as I like him.

"Ah." He raises his eyebrows. "But it soon will be my business."

"What're you talking about?"

Alex and I move to the side as more refugees come streaming in.

"Dad got me a job," he says.

"Really?" I can't fake any excitement.

"Yeah, the government's hiring some people to take a census of the ones who're left."

I roll my eyes. "There is no government."

"That's what you think."

My cousin has this driving need to one-up me, so I take every word that comes out of his mouth with a grain of salt. "Then give me some kinda proof."

Alex reaches into the back pocket of his jeans for a battered leather wallet. In the credit card section, he thumbs out an identification card and passes it to me. Laminated with contact paper, the card appears very similar to a license, except the numbers and words have all been written out by hand. Even the picture of him — an uncanny likeness — is just a sketch. I look up at him and am annoyed by the smug look on his face.

"So what?" I say. "You could've paid to have this made."

"Well, I didn't," he snaps. "I'm getting a uniform, gun, and everything. I even get paid a percentage for every person I turn in."

"What are they going to pay you in?" I sneer. "Dollars?"

Alex's dark eyes flare. "You'd better show me some respect."

"Or what, you're going to count me in your 'census'?"

"You have no idea what this is all about, do you?"

I cross my arms. "Obviously not."

Alex leans close. I can smell his black-market cigarette breath. "They're doing the census so they can figure out where to place the camps."


Excerpted from The Divide by JOLINA PETERSHEIM, Kathryn S. Olson. Copyright © 2017 Jolina Petersheim. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Divide 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Laundry_Whispers More than 1 year ago
I was so ready to jump into this story. The first book, 'The Alliance' crept in and hooked me. I need to find out more. Back with the Old Order Mennonite Community from Mt. Hebron as they are settling into their new camp up the mountain. I'm sad that this is set to be the conclusion of this short series and am wondering how I can finagle the idea that it can, and should, continue. I know luck is most likely on my side but ya know, a girl can dream. Forget the end of the world as we know it (that song totally ran through my head as I typed it). Could you survive without electricity? Or the internet? Or coffee? I mean, Leora and her community do just fine without the first two but the last... OK, enough about my plea for another installment, let's talk about the book. I'm gonna start, as always, with the eh moments. There's a lot that happens in this story. A LOT. With those things there were opportunities to bring depth to the situations and characters that was missing. Depth of emotion and feeling. Depth of even spiritual conflict when it comes down to making choices that involve the tenants of personal faith. The love triangle shaded into rather annoying as well. They are hard to write successfully and hard to love (at least for me). This one got petty and I didn't love it. Finally, and literally finally, the ending was just too neat. But, there was so much good as well. Leora truly grew as a person. And Seth. And Charlie (yes even that cranky Englisher grew - in my opinion). And Moses. And Jabil. They evolved due to their situation, their faith, and the idea of what the future may hold. I have to wonder, for Leora, what her crisis of conviction regarding the tenants of her faith will lead her. It's not completely addressed in this story but you can't make the hard choices she made (in a split second mind you) and not have long term ramifications on your convictions. I grew to love this community and these characters. I'd love to see them again. I'd love to see how the end, or the beginning depending on how you look at it, plays out. I still don't know the extent of the EMP. I'm telling ya, there's so much more here to explore... I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
sh2rose More than 1 year ago
The completion of an outstanding look at the possible realities of a global apocalypse held me captive until the last sentence. The Old Order Mennonite community stands to loose everything even their faith at times. Others continue to defend anything they own from marauders. This penetrating novel illustrates what could happen to our world when all the ordinary modern conveniences are stripped away. Who will survive? What will people sacrifice in order to stay alive? Inner hearts are revealed in actions never taken before. I highly recommend The Divide by Jolina Petersheim. I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
The Divide is a story about survival. The good the bad and the very very ugly of the survival after the EMP in the Mennonite Community) (what is an EMP - get the book and read about it) . It answers a lot of questions but it also starts a bunch more of them too. This is about Moses, Jabil and Sal and what GOD has called each of them to save and the book is about the journeys of each to the end where we would see if each would fulfill what GOD had designed for them to fulfill. will they be able to save those whom they loved and who needed them or would one or two of them feel like they could not do it? I tell you what, it is so much worth it to find out which one it is.... there are so many surprises in this book you will truly kick yourself if you don't find out what they are. The twists and turns are so real you need a Dramamine. Pay for the ticket and join the ride...........I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley; all the opinions in this review are all my own.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is the conclusion to the story that began in The Alliance. This was a story that I had to discover it's conclusion. I loved the conclusion. This book has good characters and bad characters. It shows what humanity might be like if a disaster happens that destroys many things that humans have become used to. Read both books and enjoy. These really cause one to think. I loved Leora and Moses. They learn many lessons. I received a copy of this book through Tyndale Blog Network for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
DKStevens119 More than 1 year ago
  I really enjoy reading Amish/Mennonite fiction and this one had a twist!  This is book two and we get more about what could happen if an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) shuts down all electricity and focuses on a Mennonite community continuing saga and what happens in their area. I found it interesting and there was a lot going on through the whole book. I liked how each main character's thoughts were under their name so you knew who was being focused on. I really liked it and so, if you like Amish/Mennonite fiction with an apocalyptic thing going on... you should like this one!
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading The Divide and am sure it is going to be with me for a long time, this is the sequel to The Alliance, and you really need to treat yourself to both. This book picks up where we left off, and Moses has been shot, but who else is still trying to protect? Life has gotten so much harder, if that is hard to believe, and yet the will to live continues. Can you even imagine the suffering, all that you have ever know and thought you had to have is gone! The EMT has taken it all, all but the will to survive, and our group is Mennonite and have always lived with less, but things are not all that easy for them, and others want the little they have. Will those we have come to care about survive to the end? Or is this really the end of the world? Come and enjoy the conclusion to this dystopian, and find out what has happened to those that we have come to care for. I received this book through Edelweiss and the Publisher Tyndale, and was not required to give a positive review.
JuliW More than 1 year ago
The Divide is the conclusion to The Alliance series. The world is effectively sent back in time by an EMP attack. In the first book, The Alliance, the magnetic pulses destroy all technology, anything that uses computer chips such as newer vehicles, phones, watches....all gone in mere seconds. Leora Ebersole lives in an Old Order Mennonite Community. The community is forced to align with Englishers stranded by the destruction of technology. Modern society starts to fall apart once food begins to run short. Treachery, violence and panic ensue. The Mennonites are pacifists so they flee to the mountains to escape the danger, at least for awhile. In The Divide, the story reaches its climax. A dangerous group calling itself ARC is killing survivors and taking others to forced work camps. Leora kills one of their scouts. Now ARC is hunting for their community hidden in the mountains. Can the community, and the survivors who have helped them along the way, survive? I enjoyed this series. Modern life has accustomed most people to being able to go to the grocery store and buy food. We all have at most a couple weeks worth of perishables and canned goods in our homes. What would happen if suddenly we couldn't just go buy food? There is a saying that society is 9 missed meals away from anarchy. Imagine that would happen if all modern conveniences were suddenly gone.....along with ready fuel supplies, food, most transportation and medical care. It wouldn't take long for things to degenerate into madness. The Mennonites usually keep their communities separate from others, but in this emergency they have to learn to work with others and they have to protect themselves. It makes for a wonderful story. Both The Alliance and The Divide are well-written, engaging stories and the characters are believable. Jolina Petersheim is also the author of The Midwife and The Outcast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Alliance I just finished The Alliance. What an excellent book. The ending left me wanting more. Was very happy to see there was another book and I'm buying it tonight. We could all take a lesson off the Amish when it comes to simple living. Do we really need all these so called convenient things we have? Cell phone, IPad, Nook, Tablets, dishwashers, and the list just goes on and on...... There are some people who would have NO idea how to survive if something like this were to actually happen here. I grew up with a garden and married a man who grew up on a farm. We could survive. Could you?
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
The Divide is a story about survival. The good the bad and the very very ugly of the survival after the EMP in the Mennonite Community) (what is an EMP - get the book and read about it) . It answers a lot of questions but it also starts a bunch more of them too. This is about Moses, Jabil and Sal and what GOD has called each of them to save and the book is about the journeys of each to the end where we would see if each would fulfill what GOD had designed for them to fulfill. will they be able to save those whom they loved and who needed them or would one or two of them feel like they could not do it? I tell you what, it is so much worth it to find out which one it is.... there are so many surprises in this book you will truly kick yourself if you don't find out what they are. The twists and turns are so real you need a Dramamine. Pay for the ticket and join the ride...........I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley; all the opinions in this review are all my own.