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The Outlander (2007)

by Gil Adamson

Series: The Boultons (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3038911,838 (3.78)240
"In 1903 a mysterious young woman flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, Mary Boulton has just become a widow - and her husband's killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother's death. Responding to little more than the primitive fight for life, the widow retreats ever deeper into the wilderness - and into the wilds of her own mind - encountering an unforgettable cast of eccentrics along the way."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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» See also 240 mentions

English (87)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
This novel is set in the mountains of Alberta in 1903 or thereabouts. It follows the trail of Mary Boulton who has killed her husband John with a shotgun. She is escaping from her brothers-in-law who want to bring her to justice.
Mary is referred to as the widow throughout the story as we learn of her family background: a widowed father consumed with grief, a grandmother with odd superstitions and quirks, a lonely home life and a naivety that persuades her that a marriage to John Boulton would be a good idea. John and Mary travel from Toronto (???) to Alberta to homestead and neither is prepared for the harsh reality of this lifestyle. Hardship, neglect, infidelity, and the death of an infant son push Mary over the edge.
We follow her and her flashbacks and thoughts as she wanders through the wilderness alone, unarmed, unskilled and helped by strangers along the way, in particular a recluse, Bill Moreland.
This is a very good story, excellent character development, plot, dialogue, scenery and some history surrounding the area of Frank Alberta. ( )
  MaggieFlo | May 5, 2021 |
Beautifully written ( )
  elifra | Dec 31, 2020 |
This book really made me think a lot, especially about all the things females had to take care of, ie hygiene, when trekking out west back in the day. ( )
1 vote bookczuk | Jan 18, 2020 |
(8.5) The book opens with Mary Boulton in the Canadian wilderness around 1900. She is being pursued by her two brothers-in-law after murdering her husband, their brother. The going is tough as she heads for the forested mountain slopes. She manages to stay ahead of them but collapses from exhaustion and starvation. She is found by a man who is eluding society. He nurses her back to health and a profound relationship develops between them. So, Mary is deeply shocked and distressed when one day he disappears leaving her to her own devices again. She forces on in her flight, lost and frightened again to encounter, a man, who leads her to a place of safety but for how long?
I really enjoyed this tale, especially the Canadian setting and the depiction of the rugged life lead in those times. The reasons for her action are gradually revealed. There was a satisfying ending as well. This has been on my shelf for 8 years so pleased to have finally read it and it will remain in my collection. ( )
  HelenBaker | Dec 28, 2019 |
Turn of the 20th century novel of a woman running from her brothers-in-law for having murdered her husband. She heads thru Idaho and Montana then north into the cold of Alberta, Canada. Different from my typical reading but I enjoyed it. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Feb 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
There are plenty of improbabilities in The Outlander, and yet it’s a great read. Adamson is an impressive stylist who knows how to keep an unlikely story moving at a swift and graceful pace.
 
If you never managed to track down a good read for your Christmas break, this may just make up for it. Striking, thoughtful, full of unexpected twists, The Outlander is that rare delight: a novel that is beautifully written yet as gripping as any airport page-turner....Say the words "feminist western" and people may groan, confronted with images of Sharon Stone in chaps for The Quick and the Dead, or a rip-roarin', yee-hawin' Calamity Jane. But this is a serious, literary book that moves far beyond genre or gender stereotypes. It's also hugely enjoyable - as the cowpokes might say, a rattling good yarn

 

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Epigraph
"Now goes the sun under the wood,
I pity, Mary, thy fair face.
Now goes the sun under the tree, I pity, Mary, thy son and thee." Anon, thirteenth century.

"We could be meeting Jacob and the angel, We could be meeting our sleeplessness." - Charles Simic
Dedication
For Adrian, the good father
First words
It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling.
Quotations
Enter the narrow gate. The gate that leads to perdition is wide and many go that way; but the gate that leads to life is small and the road narrow and those that find it are few
... one was a follower, a second, identical perhaps in size and shape, and certainly colouring, standing abreast of his brother as if he were his equal, but he was not. He was somehow subordinate, in shadow, a copy not entirely faithful to the original.
She remembered her father saying about a man he disliked, … “he believes in moderation in all things, including sense.”
Am I happy? she thought. Is this happy? . . . she had found a kind of amnesty. It wasn’t happiness, not damned happiness.
The dwarf and the woman, lucky miscreants, outlanders, errors that should not exist but lived on anyway.
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"In 1903 a mysterious young woman flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, Mary Boulton has just become a widow - and her husband's killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother's death. Responding to little more than the primitive fight for life, the widow retreats ever deeper into the wilderness - and into the wilds of her own mind - encountering an unforgettable cast of eccentrics along the way."--BOOK JACKET.

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Book description
On a moonlit night in 1903, a mysterious young woman flees alone across the Canadian wilderness, one quick step ahead of her pursuers. Mary Boulton is nineteen years old, half mad, and widowed - by her own hand. Tearing through the forest with dogs howling in the distance, she is desperate, her nerves burning, and she is certain of one thing only - that her every move is being traced. Two red-headed brothers, rifles across their backs, lurch close behind her: monstrous figures, identical in every way, with the predatory look of hyenas. She has murdered their brother, and their cold lust for vengeance is unswerving. As the widow scrambles to stay ahead of them, the burden of her existence disintegrates into a battle in which the dangers of her own mind become more menacing than the dangers of the night. Along the way, the steely outlaw encounters a changing cast of misfits and eccentrics. Some, like the recluse known as 'The Ridgerunner', provide a brief respite from her solitude; others, like the Reverend Bonnycastle, offer support only to reveal that they too have their own demons raging inside. As she is plunged further away from civilisation, her path from retribution to redemption slowly unfurls. A startling transformation of the classic western narrative, The Outlander is the haunting tale of one young woman's deliberate journey deep into the wild.

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Average: (3.78)
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1 5
1.5 1
2 28
2.5 14
3 70
3.5 32
4 179
4.5 31
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