The Outcasts: A Novel by Kathleen Kent

The Outcasts: A Novel
Advance Copy via Netgalley
Release date: September 24, 2013

Setting: Gulf Coast of Texas, Galveston and New Orleans, LA.

‘It’s the 19th century on the Gulf Coast, a time of opportunity and lawlessness. After escaping the Texas brothel where she’d been a virtual prisoner, Lucinda Carter heads for Middle Bayou to meet her lover, who has a plan to make them both rich, chasing rumors of a pirate’s buried treasure.

Meanwhile Nate Cannon, a young Texas policeman with a pure heart and a strong sense of justice, is on the hunt for a ruthless killer named McGill who has claimed the lives of men, women, and even children across the frontier. Who–if anyone–will survive when their paths finally cross?

As Lucinda and Nate’s stories converge, guns are drawn, debts are paid, and Kathleen Kent delivers an unforgettable portrait of a woman who will stop at nothing to make a new life for herself.’

After reading Kent’s The Wolves of Andover and loving it and her style of writing I immediately requested this book from Netgalley. I was not disappointed!

Not a western lover or partial to Texas as a locale, this book captured me immediately. It opens with a prostitute running way from her brothel with the Madam’s live savings. The interesting twist with this character is she is epileptic! This is 1870, not much known about things like this yet. It made her story very interesting.

There are three lawmen on the trail of a very dangerous killer. Two are seasoned Texas Rangers and one is a young Texas policeman. I really enjoyed watching the bonding of these three men and the seasoned lawmen teaching the young lawman. We get to see Nate’s personal life thru letters to and from his wife. Nate is a horsemen and he only took this job to get enough money to buy horses and set up in the training business. So we learn about horses thru his story too.

Throw in the mystery of a buried treasure and it is a grand adventure of a tale! Supposedly a farmer found Jean LaFitte’s buried pirate treasure on a small island. Alternating chapters beween Lucinda and Nate’s storyline it all culminates into one with the farmer and his buried treasure.

Lots of surprising connections, deaths you don’t expect, and a good twist at the end. You have to read this book!

Peggy Ann   

The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent

Amazon summary:
I’ll not ask you to be mine …I will never seek to blunt the fury in you, never, and will honour your will as my own. What say you? Can you be a soldier’s wife? New England, 1673. Martha Allen, a young woman reviled by her family because of her refusal to marry, is packed off to be a servant in her cousin’s home. She takes charge of the neglected household and annoys everyone around her — including a mysterious Welshman who works for the family, a man whose forceful nature matches her own. As they both gradually let their guard down, a fragile, uneasy friendship grows between the pair. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a band of assassins, driven by the will of Charles II, charter a ship to the New World. They have a single aim: to capture Thomas Morgan, the executioner of Charles I, and bring him back to London where he will face an excruciating death. The Royalists want to see his head on a spike outside the Tower of London. As Martha begins to fall for the tall Welshman, he reveals a little of his past. It soon becomes clear that his life is in grave danger. As the threat of the assassins grows closer, can Martha find it in herself to be a traitor’s wife?

This is a bit confusing as they changed the name of the book when it went to paperback. Originally published as The Wolves of Andover it was released as The Traitor’s Wife in paperback. This book is a prequel to Ms. Kent’s first book The Heretic’s Daughter.

Absolutely wonderful historical fiction! What makes this so great is the author is related to Thomas Carrier and Martha Allen Carrier. Along with fantastic research she did, she has the family stories handed down through the generations to weave into the story. The characters really did come alive for me. There was a scene near the beginning when they are trying to trap and kill a couple of bloodthirsty renegade wolves that was riveting! Martha thought she heard screaming and afraid that her young nephew, Will, had snuck out to ‘help’ Thomas and John and that the wolves were at him. She flys to the barn and the pen area where the wolves are and is nose to nose with the ferocious wolf. So close the wolf’s saliva is spattered on her face. You felt the need to wipe it from your face. That is the introduction to Martha’s furious personality.

In her time women like her were looked down on and certainly not marriage material. But I liked Martha. They lived in a difficult, dangerous time and I would think Martha would be an asset actually. She is there because her cousin is pregnant with her third child and needs help. The cousin is weak and retreats to her bed at the least trouble. The birthing is described vividly!

The chapters alternated with the story of Martha and Thomas there in Massachusetts and the King in England and his assassins preparing to come to the new world to look for Charles I executioner.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the assassins ship voyage from England to Boston and the encounters with the Indians when they arrive. This is a must read for historical history lovers!

I can’t wait to read The Heretic’s Daughter now! There is a new book coming out in October of this year by Kathleen Kent too, The Outcasts. Set in Texas in 1870. Prostitutes and Texas lawmen. I’m reading an advance copy of that now and believe me your going to want to read it too!

Kathleen Kent has a great blog where she writes about her research and history. Excellent reading! Check out her series of posts on The Day in Life of A Puritan Woman! She has a series of posts on her research for the new book too that are interesting.

Peggy Ann