Excerpt from Outlawed by Anna North, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Outlawed

by Anna North

Outlawed by Anna North X
Outlawed by Anna North
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2021, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 4, 2022, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Will Heath
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Excerpt
Outlawed

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw. Like a lot of things, it didn't happen all at once.

First I had to get married. I felt lucky on the day of my wedding dance. At 17 I wasn't the first girl in my class to marry, but I was one of them, and my husband was a handsome boy from a good family — he had three siblings, like me, and his mama was one of seven. Did I love him? We used to say we loved our beaus, my girlfriends and I — I remember spending hours talking about his broad shoulders, his awkward but charming dancing, the bashful way he always said my name.

The first few months of my marriage were sweet ones. My husband and I were hungry for each other all the time. In ninth form, when the girls and boys were separated to prepare us for married life, Mrs. Spencer had explained to us that it would be our duty to lie with our husbands regularly so that we could have children for baby Jesus. We already knew about the children part. We had read Burton's Lessons of the Infant Jesus Christ every year since third form, so we had heard about how God sent the great Flu to cleanse the world of evil, just like he'd sent the flood so many centuries before. We knew that baby Jesus had appeared to Mary of Texarkana after the sickness had killed nine of every ten men, women, and children from Boston to California, and struck a covenant with her: if those who remained were fruitful and peopled the world in His image, He would spare them further sickness, and they and their descendants for ever after would be precious to Him.

But in ninth form, we learned about lying with our husbands, how we should wash beforehand, and put perfume behind our ears, how we should breathe slowly to relax our muscles, and try to look our husbands in the eye. How we'd bleed.

"Don't worry," she said, then, smiling at us. "It only hurts in the beginning. After a while you'll start to like it. There's nothing more joyful than two people joining together to make a child."

My husband did not know what to do at first, but he took his responsibility seriously, and what he lacked in experience he made up in ardor. We lived with his parents while he saved for a house; in the mornings his mother made little jokes about how soon I'd be eating for two.

During the day I still attended births with my mama. I was the oldest and the only one who actually wanted to learn about breach births and morning sickness and childbed fever, so I was the one who would take over for Mama when she got too old. When I came on rounds with my new wedding ring, the mothers-to-be winked and teased me.

"It's good you're learning about all this now," said Alma Bunting, forty years old, pregnant with her sixth child and suffering from hemorrhoids. "Then you won't be surprised when it's your turn."

I just laughed. I was not like my friend Ulla, who already had eight baby names picked out, four boys and four girls. When I was ten and my sister Bee was two months old, my mama had gone to bed and stayed there for a year. So already I had been a mama — I had changed a baby, fed her from a bottle when Mama couldn't nurse, soothed her at night when I was still young enough to be afraid of the dark. I was not in a rush to do it again. I knew from working with Mama that sometimes it can take months, even for a young girl like me, and I was happy to sleep with my new husband and still sneak off sometimes to drink blackberry wine behind the Petersens' barn with Ulla and Susie and Mary Alice, and not have to worry about anyone except for me.

But then it was six months since our wedding day, and my husband's mama was lingering in the kitchen while I put the breakfast dishes away.

"You know," she said, "after you do it, you can't just get right up and go about your day. You have to lie still for at least fifteen minutes to give everything time to work."

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from Outlawed by Anna North. Excerpted with the permission of Bloomsbury Publishing.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Women of the Wild West

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Chasing Me to My Grave
    Chasing Me to My Grave
    by Winfred Rembert
    Chasing Me to My Grave might be the most authentic, vulnerable autobiography you'll ever read. ...
  • Book Jacket: My Monticello
    My Monticello
    by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
    In the incendiary opening story of My Monticello, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson's debut collection, a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wrong End of the Telescope
    The Wrong End of the Telescope
    by Rabih Alameddine
    Rabih Alameddine's The Wrong End of the Telescope follows Mina, a Lebanese American doctor who ...
  • Book Jacket: Lightning Strike
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky
by Margaret Verble
A deliciously strange and daringly original novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Sisters of the Great War
    by Suzanne Feldman

    A powerful novel of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I.

Who Said...

It is among the commonplaces of education that we often first cut off the living root and then try to replace its ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y A B Up T W T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.