Harper, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
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Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
t's 1903. Winter in the West. Snow flies and the land is settling into hibernation. Mary Boulton is on foot and fleeing from her twin brothers-in-law, who chase her with hate as well as revenge in their hearts. Mary has killed the twins' brother – her husband. If the two men find her, they will surely kill her.
is the well-told story of Mary's flight and the travails she encounters along the way. Her chance meeting of a mountain man saves her life, as she makes her way to a mining town. None of this is accomplished without much heart-wrenching hardship.
nough of the plot. Don't want to give anything away. Suspense builds with each page turned. Rest assured the plot is a fine one and well worth the read. Gentle writing nevertheless details the hardships Mary endures, while trying to keep her wits about her as she battles mad visions along with the elements. It is hard to believe such writing is a first novel.
eems strange to say that there is a delicacy imbued in this book when the content is so harsh. Gil Adamson has accomplished this unusual combination with great skill. One can almost share, as one reads, the torment Mary endures. The lack of water and food. The unknown skills needed to stay alive in such harsh conditions. The overriding compulsion for self-preservation. The strength necessary to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
t the same time we take in Mary's plight, we read of the flora and fauna she encounters. Even winter can be beautiful, although Mary sure doesn't have the will to appreciate it.
is a fine book, not to be missed.
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