Out Front the Following Sea
Out Front the Following Sea is a historical epic of one woman’s survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned — it is a death sentence. At the onset of King William’s War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor — Owen — bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen’s French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.
Steeped in historical events and culminating in a little-known war on pre-American soil, Out Front the Following Sea is a story of early feminism, misogyny, arbitrary rulings, and the treatment of outcasts, with parallels still mirrored and echoed in today’s society.
Ruth's life is one of hardship. Her grandmother is dying, and the town thinks she's a witch. Only Owen seems willing to protect her.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The narrative follows Ruth, a young woman who is at odds with life. She knows the part she's supposed to play, but she can't play it. Her 'eccentricities' haven't gotten her in too much trouble, until her grandmother grows sick, and the village starts to turn on her, blaming the 'witch' for every poor crop.
This sounded like something that would appeal to me. I love historical books featuring witches, or the independent outcasts that were often cast as witches.
Unfortunately, this book missed the mark.
I found the language to be a weird mix of modern and antiquated and didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason to it. There were whole sections that I couldn't understand, and it made it hard to connect.
The story itself seems to start in the middle of Ruth's drama. The town already call her a witch and treat her like shit, but we don't know why.
Blink and it's over, and Ruth is boarding Owen's ship to get away from those that chase her.
The main reason I didn't like this book was because I didn't like Ruth.
She's too-stupid-to-live, and despite her old-fashioned words, she feels like a modern girl dropped into this story. It's like she has no respect for all the people that have been falsely-accused of being witches and killed. She's ridiculously ignorant of the tensions of the time, and actually goes around telling people that she's a witch, and stokes the flames of their fear.
When she gets onto Owen's ship, she doesn't realise that women don't travel alone in that era, and acts friggin' stupidly around a bunch of coarse sailors. Which of course is all a ploy for her and Owen to begin a relationship/not-relationship...