By Anna North
Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635575422, January 2021, 272pp.
The Short of It:
A rollicking adventure unlike anything I’ve read.
The Rest of It:
In 1894, young Ada is seventeen and newly married to a man she loves but after a year of not getting pregnant, his family wants to know what’s wrong with her. Ada’s mother is a midwife for the town and her advice is to sleep with another man to get the job done. When that proves fruitless and women in town begin to lose their own babies, the finger is pointed towards Ada. Only a witch like Ada would cause such bad luck to fall upon the town.
Ada is heartbroken. She loves her family but also knows from her mother’s wisdom that the town is out for blood and with a young girl killed at the gallows recently, Ada is sent to live at a convent. But at this convent, she learns of a group of people who might be able to help her. The Hole in the Wall gang are a bunch of outlaws who go through their lives thieving but their freedom and sense of community appeals to Ada so she sets out to find them.
This is a Western but not the kind you’ve grown-up with. This band of rebels is headed up by The Kid. The Kid has vowed to protect outcast women but this proves more and more challenging as their supplies dwindle and the Sheriff from Ada’s hometown takes to the hills to look for her.
There are a few surprises which I won’t giveaway here but this was a completely unique story which I enjoyed very much. I will say, that about halfway through it seemed to drag a little. The group gets comfortable and the action ceases but it quickly picks up again. I blew through this story in just a few hours. What a fun, adventurous read.
The story touches on some sensitive topics and at times discusses the baby Jesus. Just so you know, the two don’t always jive with one another. I wanted to mention this for anyone who might be sensitive to it. Think feminism, women’s rights, gender roles, etc.
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