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Outlawed

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,009 ratings  ·  450 reviews
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. B
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 5th 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Kel A. I would say the age range for this is 15+. There is sex, but it is not explicitly written. The content, however, is mature.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,009 ratings  ·  450 reviews


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Angela M
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.

“In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.” That opening line pulled me in and the writing held me there the rest of the way. This is not your typical western, nor is it a factual account of the Hole in the Wall Gang . If you’re looking for truly realistic historical fiction, this isn’t it . It’s an imagined, alternate version of history, which while at times seemed a little out there, I found it to be thought provoking and interesting. Religion of the day is the bel
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emma
queer feminist gang of outcast women in the Wild West = the book i never knew i needed

(thanks to the publisher for the ARC)
Jessica Woodbury
3.5 stars. I think this is one of those books that suffered somewhat because I had a different vision for it than the author did. And that's okay, but I suspect some other readers will have a similar feeling.

It's a Speculative Western, set in an alternate America where a massive flu wiping out much of the population has led to a heavy lean into fertility patriarchy, making women with fertility issues cast out at best and victims of horrible vengeance and violence at worst. Our protagonist, Ada,
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Esil
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I was excited when I realized that the author of Outlawed also wrote The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, which I loved. Outlawed did not wow me in the same way. It felt uneven. It is set in the late 19th century in what seems to be the southwestern United States in a community where women are labelled as witches if they don’t have children. At 19, Ada is banished from her family and community because she still has not had a baby after a year of marriage. She finds her way to a group of other wom ...more
Carol
Nov 19, 2020 added it
How does a young, contented bride, one with a penchant for midwifery, end up an outlaw?

Thanks to the generosity of Bloomsbury Publishing, Author Anna North and Edelweiss, I was able to find the answer. Due to be published January 5, 2021, get yourself on the list.

If the cover doesn't grab your attention just read the first few pages. Westerns featuring female protagonists are generally my cup of tea. Outlawed one was one heck of a good steep brewing to a satisfying end.
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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
In an alternate 1894, a flu outbreak has wiped out the majority of the U.S. population and leaves survivors praising baby Jesus who is certain to continue to spare them if they live righteously and procreate. Girls are raised to understand that their purpose is to marry and have as many children as possible. If for some reason a woman cannot get pregnant, she’s useless at best or a witch at worst. If she loses her pregnancy or has a baby with defects, it must certainly be the witchcraft of a bar ...more
Lisa Wolf
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

In Outlawed, we meet 17-year-old Ada at what should be the start of a happy future. Newly married, she loves her husband and is enjoying a robust married life with him. Except she’s not getting pregnant. As the months go by, the pressure mounts, until finally, after a year of marriage, she’s kicked out by her in-laws.

Being barren is considered the utmost failure for a woman, and failing to conceive is always considered the woman’s fault. Maybe it’s her family background? Maybe it’s pun
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Sarah Jayyn
description

🤠🤠🤠🤠 (Four stars as rated in emojis wearing cowboy hats)

I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Holy smokes. I feel both satisfied and completely heartbroken by this book. What an emotionally turbulent journey I just went on!
For this book, we venture into the alternate timeline of the North American West, in which women are accused of witchcraft for being barren and, sometimes even for the barrenness of others. When
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R
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story was definitely not what I was expecting. But the unexpectedness was refreshingly good and very interesting.

The story took place in 1894. This was a time when superstitions were held as truth and innocent lives were taken because of it.This was also a time when young girls who reached a certain age were expected to marry and quickly have babies. Any females that couldn’t get pregnant were looked at with suspicion and scrutinized. Any deviation that occurred during this time such as st
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♥ Sandi ❣
3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsburg Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book. Publishes January 5, 2021

A twist on the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. This one is all women outlaws. Some undercover disguised as men, while some, dressed roughly, maintain a female composure. Most have found this calling due to being unable to bare a child. Some are forced to this situation, since barren women are considered witches and are hung, others went looking for a place to feel wanted.

In a di
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BookNightOwl
Dec 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
I want thank Netgalley and Bloomsbury for providing a copy of Outlawed by Anna North in exchange for an honest review.

As 17 year old Ada gets married she becomes extremely happy to part of this group. But as her marriage goes further and further into the months she realizes she isn't getting pregnant. Which Barren women are usually at fault. They are accused of witchcraft and usually imprisoned or hung. Adas husbands family finally kicks her out and she runs away with the Kid and the Hole in the
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Althea
3.5/5 Stars

This is a really tricky book to review - on the one hand I really enjoyed the story, the plot and the characters, but on the other I found it slightly underdeveloped.

Outlawed is set in an alternate-history America and follows Ada who, after getting kicked out by her mother in law for not being able to have children and subsequently being branded a witch, goes on the run to become a nun to avoid being prosecuted. After studying childbirth and complications therein, Ada decides to leave
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Lori
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A queer, femme, alternate Western set in the late 1800's where survivors of the flu are focused on procreation, where girls are raised to marry young and have babies or run the risk of being banished or worse, hanged for witchcraft.

Ada, a midwife in training, finds herself unable to get pregnant and is secretly shipped off to a convent to avoid the accusations being launched her way. Her desire to understand what is causing infertility in women causes her time with the nuns to be short - the Mo
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OutlawPoet
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse
Well, this was delightful.

I’ve heard it described as feminist lit and queer lit, and it is, but it’s also just an adventure! One that despite touching on so many social issues, is a story that’s pure fun.

It did take me a moment to understand our world. It’s sort of an alt-history western and it has all those wonderful elements against a backdrop of witchcraft and horrors against women, queer folks, and people of color. The style is down to earth and the adventure itself is riveting.

There’s only
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Lexi
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to Goodreads for providing me with an ARC of this book! I made it about halfway through Outlawed, but ultimately did DNF it, so certainly take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Outlawed is marketed as a feminist western, and certainly takes a strong western novel tone- major props for that. Ada lives in a village where not being able to have a child makes you vulnerable to being accused of witchcraft. Ada was happily married for a year, working as a midwife, when she (who has not ever conv
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Diane S ☔
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Thoughts soon.
Bandit
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had me at female outlaws. And if I didn’t read the plot summary, it would have had me at the cover. Great cover. Once you get past the inevitable comparisons to two other well known works and actually read the book, you’ll find out its very much its own thing and an excellent thing indeed. Set in a somewhat alternate reality of the Wild Wild West of the 1894 and 1895, the book follows Ada, a young midwife in training, a young wife, who finds herself unable to get pregnant. In the world ...more
Devann
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

I was almost surprised how much I ended up enjoying this. I knew I would like the feminist Western aspect, but I was worried about the super patriarchal society that revolves so heavily around pregnancy because that kind of thing is often a trigger for me. I think the author did a good job using it for world building purposes and to set the stage but also never really getting explicit enough with any of it to put me off the book any point [althou
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Taylor
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
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 pa
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Andrew
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the town of Fairchild, nothing is more sacred than the baby Jesus. Having children is the most noble thing you can do, and if a woman is unable to get pregnant, she's declared "barren", accused of witchcraft, and typically hanged. Unable to conceive after a year of marriage, Ada escapes a disastrous fate by joining a convent-- a common place for barren women to seek refuge. However, Ada isn't sure she's suited for this life, but no one will let a barren woman become a midwife as she'd been tr ...more
Nostalgia Reader
A wonderful, powerful slow-paced-quick-read, set in an alternate Wild West that would not seem too far-fetched in modern times.

For the first quarter or so of the book, I was getting strong vibes from the way the women's role in society is placed almost solely in their purpose to have babies. Women who had fertility issues and/or were unable to have children (the men of course were never blamed for any issues they had) were seen as witches and plagues on the small towns. Of course, this was no w
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Cat
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2021 Book Review 1: Outlawed
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Outlawed by Anna North is the story of Ada, a 17 year old newlywed and apprenticing midwife, forced to leave her life and start over as an outlaw in a fictionalized 1894. Thank you to @bloomsburypublishing for the early copy, which did not affect my review of the book.
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The story takes place in the shell of a former United States, decades after the population was ravaged by a Great Flu. Infertility is linked to witchcraft and barren women are not only cast out of hom
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Brenda Feinen
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
After a flu epidemic killed one out of three people, America disbanded. People were married at 16, 17 - with the intention of repolulating. A wife was given a year or two, sometimes less, sometimes more - to become pregnant and give birth. If not, they were kicked out of the marriage; mostly accused of witchcraft when women had miscarriages, still births. Either jail, convents or death by hanging awaited these women.
Ada is the daughter of Fairchild's well respected midwife. At 17, Ada marries. A
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Chris Haak
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book! It was thrilling, it dealt with important issues like women's rights, it had excellent and original characters and it was so much fun to read and well written! A Handmaid's Tale western style.
Thank you Bloomsbury and Edelweiss for the ARC.
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Stacy - The Novel Life
Fascinating premise. A good book, quick read, one that will make most women thank their lucky stars to not have been living around 1895 in the United States.
Alyson
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, arc, diverse-reads
Alternative history, western, LGBT+, dystopian, great characters, evocative setting...... Read it!
Sage
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars overall, maybe 4. Really enjoyed this book — Ada is a great protagonist, and was determined to use her medical skills however/whenever possible. I wasn’t sucked into this book until she went to the Hole in the Wall, though. Her time spent at the convent was just a stopgap, and I found myself wishing I would just “get to the good part.” I do think that the convent parts added another element to the story, and fleshed out Ada’s life more fully.

This was a unique feminist dystopian book,
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Zuzu Burford
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tale takes place at the end of the 19th century where the wild west was still a dangerous place especially for women that didn't conform to the norms expected by society.
Anna North grasps the conditions of that period as our hero has to make her way through lessons in life while searching for sanctuary and security making for an original coming of age saga that all should enjoy.
Racism, intermarriage, gay and lesbian issues are touched on in a positive manner and a big shout out for that.
For
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Karena
Interesting concept. Plot moved along. Would love to read more.
Rhiannon Johnson
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



When I first saw Outlawed pop up on my radar in April 2020 I had just recently read Upright Women Wanted and I loved the idea of another queer Western novel. Where Upright Women Wanted is a near-future dystopia, Outlawed takes place in an alternate, late 19th century United States where a quasi-Christian religion values reproduction above all else.

"We had read Burton's Lessons of the Infant Jesus Christ every yea
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Challenge Corner: Outlawed by Anna North -> Starting January 22nd, 2021 1 8 Jan 05, 2021 12:45PM  
Book of The Month: Outlawed *Spoiler Discussion* 2 19 Jan 03, 2021 10:39AM  
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Anna North is a novelist and journalist. She is the author of the novels America Pacifica (2011), The Life and Death of Sophie Stark (2015), and Outlawed (forthcoming with Bloomsbury, January 2021). She has been a writer and editor at Jezebel, BuzzFeed, Salon, and the New York Times, and is now a senior reporter at Vox.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
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