• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Outlawed by Anna North

North provides intrigue, an exploration of gender and power roles, tales of unconventional friendship, and enough shoot-outs and danger to make this a feminist Western I couldn't stop reading.

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.


It's 1894, and seventeen-year-old Ada is a newlywed, following contentedly the path set out for her as a young married woman in her small town. She assists her mother with her midwifery, loves her younger sisters, and adjusts to life with a mother-in-law.


But when time goes by and Ada doesn't conceive a child, she is suspected of witchcraft, of causing trouble and destruction throughout the community, and of wielding vague, threatening, dark power. Her town, her neighbors, and even her husband turn against her.


Fearful for her life, she flees to a convent (where she quickly establishes that she is not destined to become a nun), then through an unlikely convent-to-outlaw pipeline, joins up with The Hole in the Wall Gang, a group of outlaws led by a larger-than-life local legend, The Kid.


Ada serves as the motley crew's healer, learns to shoot, takes part in various schemes--some ill-fated--and begins to understand that the group's intention is to effect sweeping change by wielding its power for good. But grandiose plans don't always go off as planned, and making any change in a society so entrenched in prejudice and superstition is going to be tricky, if it's possible at all.


North provides intrigue, an exploration of gender and power roles, tales of unconventional friendship, and enough shoot-outs and danger to make this a feminist Western I couldn't stop reading. Plus: I love this cover!

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I mentioned Outlawed (along with Firekeeper's Daughter and Body of Stars) in the Greedy Reading List Three Books I'm Reading Now, 3/10/21 Edition.


North also wrote America Pacifica and The Life and Death of Sophie Stark.