Book Reviews

Book Review: Out Front the Following Sea

By Leah Angtsman

Published January 2022

334 Pages

Ruth Miner knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it.  Unfortunately, being headstrong and independent in colonial America during the 17th century is nearly always punishable – sometimes by death.  With her grandmother’s passing, Ruth loses the only buffer standing between her and the townspeople who have branded her a witch.

She flees to New England with the help of Owen, her childhood friend and original source of her troubles.  But once she arrives in Connecticut, she quickly finds herself, again, at odds with the townspeople.  Within weeks of settling in Stonington, Ruth tries to overturn the ruling that women can’t own land, proceeds to discuss science with her Puritan landlady, and befriends a local Pequot Indian.  Her troubles escalate when she finds herself carrying Owen’s child and hastily marries Samuel Whitlock, commander of the King’s garrison. 

On the eve of King William’s War between the British colonies and New France, Owen returns from sea, but he is too late to stop her disastrous marriage.  When Ruth’s husband discovers she is pregnant with Owen’s child, he has Owen arrested for treason.  As events in town and her home grow increasingly dangerous, Ruth must once again fight for not only her survival, but also for Owen’s and their unborn child.

This novel was a page-turner.  The plot was riveting and it was refreshing to see a heroine as independent as Ruth in historical fiction.  Both she and Owen were characters whose mindsets I rarely encounter during this time period. I’m sure people like them existed, but they’ve mostly been erased from the history books.  As far as the supporting characters, the author ran the gamut of possible people one might encounter in early colonial New England – highwaymen, Indians, Puritans, Quakers, British Loyalists, indentured servants – everything was covered.  The novel was well-researched without being overwhelming.  The historic details were woven in so well they flowed naturally throughout the story. 

At its heart, this story is a romance.  A gritty one, but a romance nonetheless.  With that said, my only complaint (aside from an odd lack of commas that made me stumble over some of the prose), was that I felt the ending wrapped up too tidily.  Granted, it was satisfying but I might have preferred something different – which I can’t really get into without giving away spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.

Overall, a very solid and enjoyable read.  I’d like to thank BookSirens for providing me with this ARC copy.

I rated this novel four stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

My rating system:

5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.

4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.

3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.

2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.

The world is remade through the power of fierce women performing outrageous acts of creative rebellion.

Louise M. Paré

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