Sunday, 2 September 2012
The Outlander - Gil Adamson
A widow at 19, we know from the very beginning that Mary Boulton has shot and killed her own husband. She's on the run and her husband's twin brothers are following, relentlessly, to arrest her and avenge their brother's murder. But it becomes obvious very quickly that your sympathy will lie with Mary and her travails, and you, like me, will find yourself willing her on, willing the fates to go her way. Her head is full of memories. Her sick mother who died young, her opium-addicted father, a dead child, the strangeness of her marriage, all continue to haunt her thoughts and make her (and the reader) wonder whether all is well with her mental health.
First published in the UK in 2008, I had this on my shelves for a while. No longer! This is the kind of book one longs to be left alone with, to keep on turning the pages and keeping up with Mary and her impossible bid for freedom. Beautifully written with a quality that haunts the reader with its descriptions of the country, the animals, the humans she comes across and it would take a stone heart not to be involved. We know she killed her husband from the start of the book, but how? We know she killed him, but why? This intrigue keeps you reading, and I had to stop myself dipping into pages further along in the book. Whether Mary succeeds in her bid to escape from her brothers-in-law for good, and whether she will ever be truly happy is the draw of the tale, but I read on, hoping.