The Book Worm: Review: The Outsider

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Review: The Outsider

Book Review: The Outsider, by Penelope Williamson


Throughout the years on her Montana homestead, Rachel Yoder had never been afraid—the creed of the Plain People had been her strength. Then the day came when lawless men killed Rachel’s husband in an act of blind greed. Now, at her darkest hour, an outsider walks across her meadow and into her life… Johnny Cain is bloody, near death, and armed to the teeth. A man hardened by his violent past, Cain has never known a woman like Rachel—someone who offers him a chance to heal more than his physical wounds. Cain’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Rachel's heart and confound her soul. Soon she must choose between all she holds dear—her faith, her family, perhaps her very salvation—and the man they call the Outsider.

Genre: historical romance

Publication date: June 2014

Mature content: yes

Review: The Outsider was the first book I read by Penelope Williamson and I came across it purely by chance: I saw the movie The Outsider on TV and I liked the story but I thought there were a lot of unexplained details. When I realized the movie was based on a novel, I decided to download and read it. And it was a great decision.

Usually I tend to think books are always better than movies, but in the case of The Outsider, the difference is abysmal. There's a wealth of images and a depth of feeling that you can only get if you read the story. And while the general plot is almost the same, some characters are named differently (Rachel, the main female character in the book, is named Rebecca in the movie, for example). Also, there are several side stories which help explain a lot of what was left unsaid in the movie.

Now, it is not an easy book to read, first because it's long (almost 500 pages) and second because the story in itself is hard, physically and emotionally. Still, those were hard times, so physical violence in a western romance is almost to be expected.

The religious aspect of the novel was probably the hardest for me to digest, because there are scenes where the Plain People come across as emotionally abusive - for people who pride themselves in being all equal an avoid that one feels superior to the others, they do seem to engage in a lot of gossiping and the way they shun those who stray from the rules is terrifying - probably accurate but still terrifying. Not to mention that for all their "turn the other cheek" philosophy, they seem to have no problem beating up a man who's clearly refusing to fight them back. It was hard to reconcile their beliefs with their actions and at some point in the book I started feeling that an outsider with a violent past actually behaved better than a whole community of supposedly God fearing, faith driven people. I'm not sure that was the message the author was trying to convey, but it still left a bitter taste in any case.

This being said, The Outsider is an addictive book, one that I could have read in just one sitting if I'd had the time. Not many books can hold my attention like this one did, especially taking into account that I already knew how the story ended, so I totally recommend it.

The Outsider may have been my first book by Penelope Williamson, but it will certainly not be my last.

Happy Tuesday, 

the book worm, book blog


  1. I love hearing from someone who has already read a book I am interested in reading! This sounds like a good one, and is definitely going on my list! Thanks for sharing at Celebrate It!

    1. I hope you love it as much as I did! Thank you for hosting and for stopping by!


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