Friday, 27 February 2009

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

"At nineteen Mary Boulton has just become a widow and her husbands killer" so says the blurb on the jacket of this book. The year is 1903 and Mary flees from the Alberta prairies towards the Rockie mountains pursued by her two avenging brothers-in-law. She runs, escaping with no plan or direction in mind. Her very survival in the wilderness is in question but at each point when either hunger or disaster threatens she is helped on her way by the people she meets. Things happen to Mary rather than her influencing them as we start out, but her story gradually filters through as she journeys and we realise that she has had little love and affection in her young life but in this escape she may have found both but her life is still in jeopardy.

This is a great adventure story with luminescent prose bringing both the wild country and the people that inhabited these regions vividly to life. A tough heroine who can battle winter weather, illness and injury but whose character unfolds and develops in this page turning book.

I think the quote from Ann Patchett sums this book up "The Outlander deserves to be read twice, first for the plot and the complex characters, which make this a page-turner of the highest order, and then a second time, slowly, to savor the marvel of Gil Adamson's writing. The novel is a true wonder"

This is Gil Adamson's first novel. I hope she writes more.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

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