The Outlander

The Outlander: A Novel (P.S.) - Gil Adamson

“Drop it. She’s done. Who knows who they were. Who knows where they took her. And even if you knew”— he spread his small hands out —“what could you do? Are you Sam Steele?” The two of them drunk for two days, until the Ridgerunner could drink no more, and merely sat holding his head. Then a long, sorry, sober night during which the dwarf had chattered to stave off his companion’s unnerving silence, telling story after story, every one about her. Wondering at the particulars of her past, the whiff of crime, her dreadful pursuers, recounting the incredible fact of her firing upon them. Questions that were unanswered and unanswerable. It had been a wake.

I wish there was a better start to the new year, but this is the first book I finished and it was disappointing.

Not that the book was a total waste of time but the story was just bland - especially after having read Alias Grace, The Tenderness of Wolves, and The Silence of the North.

 

This book follows the story of Mary Boulton ("the widow"), a nineteen year old woman who is on the run after killing her husband. This is not a spoiler, by the way. This is given away within the first few pages of the book (and it's all over the blurb, too).

 

Now, given that we already know why "the widow" is on the run and there is not much mystery to her story, I expected the book to come up with another element that would keep me guessing what happens next or how certain characters would interact or develop. Apparently that was too much to ask.

 

I really liked the main character Mary, the widow, but there wasn't much of a journey of discovery with her or any of the other characters. It did not help that it was quite hard to get close to any of the characters because the author decided to be quirky and instead of referring to them by name referred to the characters mostly by their description or some other form of label which somewhat reduced the characters to just that preconception which was implied by the label.

So, we have "the widow", the "dwarf", the "old woman", the "Ridgerunner", etc.

 

This did not work for me. It made the book read like it was still a draft and the characters still needed a lot of work before they could gain any depth.

The other elements that did not work for me was that, while the "widow" was on the run, there was no contemplation on her part about where she was running to or how she would escape prosecution by the "twins". She's on the run but seems get caught up in every encounter she makes. How is this being on the run?

The second issue I have with the book is that it quickly turns into a romance, which is quite far fetched in the first place and actually distracts from what could have been an interesting book.