Sylvia Sandon is at a crossroads in her life. A wife and mother of two daughters, she and her city-planner husband grapple with the escalating renovation of their antique farmhouse–a situation that mirrors the disarray in Sylvia’s life. Facing a failing marriage and a famished career as an art teacher, Sylvia finds herself suddenly powerless to the allure of Tai Rosen, the father of her most difficult art student. As their passion ignites, Sylvia is forced to examine her past, and the seeds of betrayal that were sown decades earlier by her mother’s secret life.
Eloquently written and deeply thought-provoking, Ostermiller’s Outside the Ordinary World crosses many years and miles–from the California brushfires in the 1970s to New England during the first half of this decade. Raised Seventh Day Adventist, Sylvia must reconcile the conflicting values exhibited by her parents–a mother involved in an extramarital affair and a father who was emotionally distant and abusive–while coming to terms with her own disturbing role in her family’s dissolution and father’s tragic death.
While infidelity is a subject often explored in fiction, Ostermiller shines a razor-sharp lens on the gray areas surrounding betrayal, the complex interplay of religion, and the powerful legacy passed down from one generation to the next. At the same time, she reveals the redemptive power of the human spirit to love, transform, and forgive despite family history.