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The Outsider by Penelope Williamson
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The Outsider (1996)

by Penelope Williamson

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Showing 5 of 5
Wow...where do I begin!? I thought the romance in this book was fantastic. Rachel was very patient with Cain and had him figured out pretty much from the start. It took awhile to get him to trust her with his secrets, but when they finally got their act together, it was clear that they were perfect for each other. It wasn't easy for Rachel though. A widow with a ten year old son, she was caught in a tug o'war between her feelings for Cain and the ways of the Plain Folk. To pursue a relationship with him meant being shunned by her family and in their opinion, her soul was condemned.

I liked how the author developed her characters, especially Benjo. He's a ten year old boy who's learning hard life lessons after losing his father in an act of violence. Cain's relationship with him was very special. I was surprised to find that a gunslinger had a natural fatherly instinct.

There were also things that kept this from a five star book, especially the fact that this wasn't easy for me to read. We learn a lot about Mose, but then at the end I didn't get the resolution to his story. Why spend so much time on a sub-character, then leave us hanging at the end? Another issue: The Plain Folk are very, very strict and come across in this book as extremely sanctimonious. When Rachel finally makes her choice about Cain, my heart broke for her. There was no way her people would allow her to love him and still be a part of their society, even though that's all she had ever known. Once she's married to Cain, disaster strikes and her father's reaction as he talks to the doctor was appalling to me. Regardless, it seemed very accurate and made for a powerful book emotionally.

I will read more from this author. ( )
  Becky_McKenna | Mar 10, 2016 |
Wonderful novel exploring the fiends and fanatics that settled the American West. How righteousness goes so wrong. Great writing! ( )
  Candl | Feb 21, 2015 |
There are alot of good reviews on this book. I didn't think it was all that great and I found myself in many instances browsing pages to get past some lengthy descriptions of this or that. At first I was quite intrigued with the outsider but as time went on I was like, whoa, this is just too drawn out. Perhaps I'm just one of those people who prefer a bit more grit, language and hotter sex in their romance novels. *blush* ( )
  rainrunner | Feb 15, 2011 |
Rachel Yoder is a member of an group of an Amish type sect called The Plain People. Recently widowed, she and her son Benjo continue to work the farm and raise the sheep in late 19C Montana. Left for dead, gunman Johnny Cain stumbles onto her farm and Rachel nurses him back to health and allows him to stay on and help her on her farm, despite the strong disapproval of her family and other members of the sect.

What follows next is the usual for most romance books, Rachel and Johnny can't deny their attractions despite their differences, circumstances pull them apart, a baddie cattle rancher threatens The Plain People and their livelihood, a girl gone bad with a heart of gold hoping to win the love of the town doctor who drinks too much, all leading to a bit too pat of an ending. I've read three of Williamson's books now, and while not bad there's really nothing there to have me running out to read more. A little too preditible, and the loves scenes go a bit off the top at times. ( )
  Misfit | May 10, 2009 |
Another amazing book from Penelope Williamson. I'm starting to sound like a squealing fangirl, but if someone can write about the de-bloating of sheep and still make that part and parcel of a wonderful story, then there's true talent for you : ) Of course, there's much more than the de-bloating of sheep (I'll leave it to the curious and intrepid to find out what exactly that is) to The Outsider. The book is named for the man, Johnny Cain, who comes into the life of Rachel Yoder, a Plain woman widowed with a son. He is an "outsider" to her because he is not of the Plain faith, and brings with him a past that is violent, brutal, and terrifying, everything that is incommensurate, it would seem, with who she is and what she believes. The book is as much about the love that grows between these two as it is about the network of relationships and enmities that surround and test them - Rachel's family and religion, the people who do not understand and are cruel to the Amish, a cattle baron and his "breed" (part Native American) son who seek to drive out the sheep farming Amish. In Outsider, Williamson meets the standards she's set for herself in previous books. Her beautiful writing explores the complexity of the emotions and interactions of these characters, rendering each and every one of them multidimensional, living and breathing people. I really believed in the love between Rachel and Johnny - so few romances can make love seem real like that. My only complaint is that not once do we get inside Johnny Cain's head. Then again, that might have been the point, given the title, and anyway it didn't detract at all from the book as a whole. Heart of the West is still my favorite, but The Outsider is just as good. ( )
  theshadowknows | Dec 11, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446604771, Mass Market Paperback)

After Rachel Yoder's husband is murdered by outlaws in an act of outrageous greed, she must raise her 10-year-old son alone on the Montana Plains. One day, a handsome stranger dying from a gunshot wound walks into her ranch. With simple kindness, she treats his injury and nurses him back to health. Soon Rachel finds herself drawn to this mysterious outsider with a violent past--and must put her future on the line for a last chance at happiness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In 1880s Montana, wounded gunfighter Johnny Cain finds refuge on a sheep farm run by Rachel Yoder, an Amish widow with a small son whose husband was framed and hung. As Cain recovers under Rachel's care, love is born.

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