Tag Archives: Friendship

Review: Outlawed

Outlawed

Outlawed
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.

Content Note: 

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.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Good Company

Good Company

Good Company
By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Ecco, 9780062876003, April 6, 2021, 320pp.

The Short of It:

Marriage for some, is like walking a tightrope without a net.

The Rest of It:

When Julian and Flora first met, they were both struggling artists in the process of finding themselves. Scraping to get by was never enjoyable but there was something to be said for blood, sweat and tears and being able to build something together meant something. Good Company, a small theatre group born out of Julian’s dreams to run his own theatre took center stage for many years but when they each started to have their own successes with acting and then had a beautiful daughter of their own, they moved to Los Angeles and there, the romantic lure of acting wasn’t as shiny as it was when they were newly married yet still an important part of who they were.

The benefit to being in Los Angeles is that Flora is once again close to her dear friends Margo and David. Margo, also an actress but much more recognizable than Flora had ever been, is the friend that always grounds Flora no matter what is going on. Years and years of friendship and Margot’s own challenges with her husband who suffered a stroke, do nothing but bond them tighter together. That’s why Flora finds herself completely lost when a secret comes out and she’s not sure if she can turn to Margot for support.

This is one of those dishy reads that you zip through. There is a lot of mature drama. Marriage difficulties, insecurities, trying to keep up appearances for your adult child, the threat of an empty nest, success and what happens to a relationship when it’s been strained. Flora and Julian’s story is intermingled with that of Margot’s and I found it to be a good balance. This isn’t an “escape” read because it’s too rooted in real life for that feeling to overcome you but I didn’t mind spending time with these characters and felt that the ending was appropriately realistic.

I think I felt the same way about Sweeney’s previous book, The Nest. A good read but probably not one that will stick with me. I would have liked the story to go a bit deeper into Flora’s character. She had a lot going on and was presented with some very difficult choices. I would have appreciated more of her.

I don’t usually give starred ratings here on the blog, but I do on GoodReads and I’d give this one a solid three stars if that helps.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.