Monday, April 3, 2023

Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North


Goodreads Overview:

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.

Jacque's Review:

This was another Reese's Book Club selection, so I decided to read it. I'm not usually a fan of westerns, but this sounded interesting. While I liked the concept, it was a VERY slow read for me. I kept plugging away thinking there would be an EPIC conclusion that I couldn't miss, but that wasn't the case. In retrospect, I should have pulled the plug and given this a DNF.

The book is set in a time when the belief in witchcraft was prevalent. If someone isn't able to have a child, the woman was to blame. If something happened during childbirth or there was an unexplained plague, it must be the result of witchcraft. That is what this story centers around. There is a community of women who were chased out of town because they were unable to conceive a child or were accused of being witches and are now living as outlaws in a remote camp. They pass themselves off as men and steal when they have to for survival. The law is after them because of their illegal activities, but much like Billy the Kid, the stories about them are legendary. 

I usually like the books Reese selects, so I think this was just a genre that doesn't appeal to me. It has over a 3.5 rating on Goodreads and 52% of the almost 61,000 reviewers have given it 4 and 5 stars. Clearly others are enjoying it, but this one wasn't my cup of tea.

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