As I read my way through a Cross-Canada Reading challenge, The Outlander (not the version with the hot Scottish guy and his time travelling wife which I have also read), was my choice based in Alberta. It is also from the CBC’s 100 Books that Make You Proud to be Canadian list which I am attempting to slowly finish, book by book.
This novel was a bit of a slow start for me as I tried to understand why a 19 year old killed her husband and fled through the wilderness into the North. Mary Boulton ran from her husband’s two brothers, who chased her with bloodhounds and sought vengeance. Mary struggled with her mental status as she kept ahead of the men on their run through the Rockies.
At one point, Mary settled into the town of Frank and survived a devastating rockslide. This part of the novel described an actual landslide which took place in 1903 when the side of Turtle Mountain sheared off. Millions of tonnes of limestone crushed more than 70 people in mere seconds.
Following the rockslide, Mary experienced other adventures that at times seemed a bit farfetched – how much can one woman escape? I usually enjoy historical fiction but am not sure that I agree that this novel needs to be on the CBC top 100 list. It was action packed and included murder, adventure and a little romance but didn’t quite capture my attention.
Overall, I enjoyed the story but was more engaged by learning more about the Frank landslide which I googled. It is hard to imagine hearing the thundering sound of rock waking you up in the wee hours of the morning. It must have been unbelievable to live through that and witness the mounds of rocks covering your friends and neighbours. It is now a designated historic site.
I loved this book when I read it a few years ago. But survival stories are one of my favourites… add some historical details to that and I’m even happier. 🙂
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