Book Review: Outlawed
I hope you had a great Halloween and are settling into the colder season with some enthusiasm. Gotta love the holidays, right?
I’m back with another book review! This time I read Outlawed by Anna North.
I’m a little lacking on westerns for my reading assignment for class, and this one stood out since it was labeled as LGBT. You don’t see that every day! Needless to say, I dove right in. How did I like it? Keep on reading for the review, folks!
In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.
The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.
She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.
Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.
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This is the second western read I’ve had that I can remember, and overall I enjoyed this novel despite having some mixed feelings.
This book centers on Ada, a young woman that just got married. Life is bright with her sisters and midwife mother, but after a year of being married and not conceiving a child, she finds herself unceremoniously thrown out and forced to leave everything she knows for being accused of witchcraft. Devastated, Ada embarks on a journey to find safety, purpose, and tolerance in the harsh wild west.
There was plenty to like with this novel.
First and foremost, the wild west theme felt fairly authentic to me. The beginning of the novel may not have had much reference, but throughout the novel it became more immersive. I also loved the LGBT representation. It’s almost unheard of to see an LGBT western novel, but the theme was prominent and important to this book. There was a real sense of found family, and it was really nice to see bonds form over the novel.
Ada herself was likeable enough, and though I found her a bit vanilla for my taste, she progressed into a more likable individual by the end with courage and purpose. Almost all of the other characters were female and LGBT, especially The Kid (whether you want to believe it’s Billy the Kid or not is up to you), which was a nice spin on things from a historical perspective.
The plot was fun, especially the shootouts and wild west shenanigans . I wouldn’t say there were many surprising twists, but it was an adventure with a decent amount of thrills along the way, so I’m not very disappointed.
The main flaw with this book was the writing for me. It never quite jumped off the pages and gripped me. Yes, I understood what was happening and cared a little about the characters and their plight, but there was a lack of emotion within the passages, and it just didn’t take it to that next level.
Everything said, this was still a fun book. If you like LGBT or western novels and want a change of scenery, you might enjoy this one!
That’s A Wrap!
Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!
Have a great day!
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Your review points out that the art of wordsmithing is just as important as the craft of storytelling. Good review, Jonny!
Thanks friend! 😀 Hope you’re having a good week.