A truly enjoyable book, the Outlander, by Gillian Adamson tells the story of a young widow’s flight from the avengers of her husband’s murderer. From the very beginning of the book the widow is declared to be the murderer, but just what happened is not clear. The widow doesn’t flee immediately but waits until the murder of her husband is discovered and she is blamed. At the beginning of the novel she is being pursued by her husband’s brothers, two red headed twins who become almost evil itself throughout the chapters of the book. Against all odds the widow manages to escape, leaving the reader hopeful at the close of each terrifying, breathless effort that she will find civilization and someone to help her. This appears to be the case when she is taken in by an elderly, wealthy mad woman she meets in a church, who is willing to harbor her, but who cannot withstand the might of the brothers who track her to the woman’s house. As the widow flees again and again, more of her past is revealed. In flashbacks we are told about her innocent upbringing by her widowed lawyer father and her paternal grandmother, a wealthy life which does not prepare her for the one she endures after her ill-thought-out marriage to her husband. Right away she is taken to a floorless hut without even a window, in a wilderness which had been described to her family as a fine house. Here she struggles to scrub and cook for a man who takes no more thought for her than if she were another mule added to his list of assets. After their baby dies within a few weeks of being born in the same bed he was conceived in, the widow is afflicted with madness. But while the widow is undeniably mentally disturbed in some respects, in others the craziness of her thoughts may lead to her salvation.
Adamson’s poetry is very evident in the writing of the book and although some of the words were lost on me, the writing is compelling. The style of beginning in the middle, during the flight of the widow, and then telling the beginning as the book proceeds along to its end is thoughtful and intriguing. One doesn’t know what actually happened regarding the murder until near the end of the book, lending it the air of a mystery as well as drama.
I can highly recommend this book, you will enjoy it.