Tag Archives: Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club

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: The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium
By Sarah Pearse
Pamela Dorman Books, 9780593296677, February 2021, 400pp.

The Short of It:

A quick, fast-paced read that will keep you guessing.

The Rest of It:

I knew nothing about The Sanatorium when I picked it up, except that it was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and that an old mental hospital was at the center of the story. I’ve been pretty lucky with the books Reese has chosen for her clubs and an old mental hospital sounded like the perfect, creepy setting for a mystery.

The story opens with the sanatorium being completely renovated and in its place, is a fancy hotel located in the Swiss Alps. Elin has taken time off from her job as a detective to attend her brother’s engagement party. Isaac and Elin have been estranged for quite some time, but she can’t really say no to this celebratory event so she and Will, her significant other, make the trip and decide to put the past behind them.

Shortly after their arrival, there is an avalanche which cuts them off from the rest of society. No one can leave and no one can get to them either. This wouldn’t be much of an issue normally but a dead body has been found in the snow, and it’s not looking like an accident. As details emerge, more people go missing including her soon-to-be sister-in-law and Elin can’t help but get involved since she’s the only detective on the scene and the only one who can investigate at all since the local police cannot get to them.

I’ve read many stories where the characters are stuck in a remote location and everything that CAN hit the fan, does. Although the concept is far from unique, the execution here is a lot better than some of the books I’ve read with similar plots. As the story unfolds, just enough is given to you to make you question what is going on and who could be responsible for it. The pacing is very good and if you are wondering if the mental hospital enters back into the story, it does, but not in a big way. I was hoping for more mental hospital and less hotel, personally.

What’s good about this story is that Elin is dealing with something from her past and her story is woven quite nicely into this murder mystery. The two storylines complimented one another and did not compete which is rare. If you look at other reviews for this book, you will see that opinions are mixed but I enjoyed it and thought it was well done. For those of you who have read it, do you see a sequel in the works?

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