A Novel

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Pub Date 05 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 06 Jan 2021
Bloomsbury USA, Bloomsbury Publishing

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"A masterpiece." - R.O. Kwon

The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.


"A masterpiece." - R.O. Kwon

The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of...

Advance Praise

"A masterpiece." —R.O. Kwon

"A grand, unforgettable tale." —Esmé Weijun Wang

"Reader, you are in for a real treat." —Jenny Zhang

"A masterpiece." —R.O. Kwon

"A grand, unforgettable tale." —Esmé Weijun Wang

"Reader, you are in for a real treat." —Jenny Zhang

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781635575422
PRICE CA$34.99 (CAD)

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Featured Reviews

Quite honestly the only feminist queer western I’ve read this year... or ever! And y’know what? I blooming LOVED it!

I don’t want to give anything away but Outlaw ticks a lot of boxes!

Realistic Historical fiction - check
Witch trial vibe - check
Action and adventure Wild West Style- check
Romance - check
Strong, independent women - check
BAME and LGBTQIA+ representation - check

I picked Outlaw up because I wanted to stretch my reading to westerns and I think what I’ve done is find one of my favourite books of the year. I think there’s something for all readers in this novel and I recommend you pick it up ASAP. I could easily imagine this transferring to the big screen or a Netflix series - fingers crossed!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC of Outlaw, which I received for free in return for a fair review.

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The most incredible seaming of the past and present into a deep intriguing story. The heroine of this book is so strong as are the members of her outlawed group, the Hole In The Wall Gang. A must read.

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This is not the Hole in the Wall gang you’re familiar with. While the time setting is the same as the one we know, this story has an interesting twist. This gang of outlaws are all women. Women have one function, producing babies. If they can’t they are cast aside, replaced or worse, accused of witchery and killed because of that label. Some are lucky enough to escape their fates by joining a convent but not all wanted to be part of the religious community.  The nuns often directed them to this gang of discards. There is often dissension in the group despite the similar backgrounds that brought them together to live in this community. Trust and their place in the group must be earned, not automatically assured. This tale covers so many topics: misogyny, LGBTQ, women’s rights, religion, racism……..it’s all here. Stir in a heavy dose of life in the wild west and you have a captivating novel that you can't put down.

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I loved this book! Outlawed is an amazing speculative Western that really shakes up the Western genre by tackling the patriarchy, gender roles/identity, race, religion, fertility, and medicine in a unique way. The protagonist is irresistible: a no-nonsense, determined heroine, who has the gumption to teach herself medicine from old textbooks. I was so involved in the book I read it in one evening.

Set in an alternate America, a massive flu has wiped out much of the population leading to a return to a strict patriarchy and a return to witch hunts. With the need to replace the population, fertility becomes a major issue in women’s lives as does keeping children alive. Miscarriages, stillbirths, and the deaths of infants are considered to be caused by witches. Women with fertility issues are cast out, and witches become victims of horrible violence.

Newly-wed seventeen year old Ada loves her husband, and she loves being her mother’s midwifery apprentice. A year later, she remains childless. After she’s denounced as a witch, she’s sent to a convent, where the mother superior determines that Ada is not nun material. She leaves the convent hoping to reach Pagosa Springs, Colorado, to study with a midwife there.

Instead, en route to Pagosa Springs, she joins the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws. The gang seems to be a rough, hard-scrapple group of nonbinary women with no one bound by the gender they were assigned at birth. The Gang is led by a preacher-turned-robber known as the Kid. Charismatic (and probably bipolar), the Kid wants to create a safe haven for outcast women, but the Kid’s plans soon become grandiose and threaten the safety of the Gang.

What is most refreshing about Outlawed, is the refreshing amount of LGBTQ+ representation.

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If you're like me and obsessed with 19th century midwifery, this is the book for you. Even if you aren't like me (which I suspect you aren't), this novel will captivate you. It is simultaneous historical and speculative. There are so many small details that make the setting so convincing and intricate. Ada is a wonderful character. I felt her pain and her triumphs.

It would be easy to say this is a book about womanhood and fertility, but I would contend it's far more. Outlawed is the story of patriarchy, local politics, disability, medicine, sexuality, love, found family, nature, escape, friendship, and more.

What particularly struck me about this novel is the amount of LGBTQ+ representation. Outlawed balances discussion of homophobia (it is set in the 1890s) and love. Every book should be about gay cowboys!

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I'm recommending Outlawed to all my colleagues and patrons! What a great combination of an alternate history/post-pandemic story, with reproductive freedom, gender, and race issues. The women in the story are so resourceful, and the description was so vivid that I felt like I really saw the Mothering Day celebration. This should be a movie.

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