Reviewed by One Book More
Out Front the Following Sea was reviewed at One Book More on June 20, 2021.
Out Front the Following Sea is a historical novel that follows Ruth Miner as she fights to survive in 17th century New England. This book moved me in ways that I didn’t expect. I don’t know if it is because the story takes place in New England where I’ve lived for my entire life, or if it’s because of the strong female protagonist whose story is so unbelievably compelling, or if it is because of the rich imagery and history, but I fell in love with this unique and engrossing story.
Ruth Miner is a survivor – brave, strong, fierce, and fearless. An unconventional girl in a world that thrives on conformity is never safe, as Ruth knows too well. She is a woman ahead of her time with desires that are forbidden in a strict, patriarchal society that demands submission, especially among females. No matter what happens, Ruth never gives up, and I admire her perseverance and fighting spirit, especially considering the insurmountable obstacles she faces.
Heartbreaking and yet hopeful, the story reveals the brutal and harsh realities of 17th century New England. As a life-long resident of New England, I found the rich history of the story fascinating. The deeply researched and historically authentic world is vivid and immersive, and it captivated me from the first pages. New England is on the cusp of war, and the characters are on different sides of it. I like that the story offers perspectives from different sides of the multitude of conflicts going on at this time, as it provides a well-rounded view of Ruth’s world and the people who inhabit it.
Of all the things to know, I know nothing at all …we are shackled to this dictation, this ‘men’s talk,’ when there’s other worlds out there … Other worlds that do not know our shackles, so we must, in actuality, be so small within them … the frailty of thought against the obstinance of time. I wish … I wish I could hold it. But it goes before I can reach it.(from Out Front the Following Sea)
The book also highlights the lack of options for women during this time and how devalued people were because of their gender and race. This is particularly evident as Ruth makes unlikely friends who prove more honorable and just than the townspeople who tout these qualities. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, as many of the people Ruth should be able to trust are hypocrites and are often less trustworthy and more vicious than those who are shunned from society.
Few people understand and accept Ruth, though she does make several allies throughout her journey. However, Owen, a young man that has known Ruth since childhood, accepts her unequivocally. Owen suffers as much as Ruth throughout the story, yet his loyalty to her remains. His character, as well as many of the other characters in the novel, is well-layered, dynamically developed, and compelling.
A warmth stole through her, and she thought of home. What that meant – what it meant now. His scent was home, and there was now no other.(from Out Front the Following Sea)
And the romance? I loved it! It’s heartbreaking and uplifting and devastating and hopeful. It’s everything! Two people bound by tragedy find home with each other, yet they are repeatedly torn apart. This couple went on an epic journey (both together and apart) riddled with obstacles, and I couldn’t get enough of their story. I must admit, they broke my heart on more than one occasion, and I so wanted them to find some happiness together. Their deep and profound love story isn’t always pretty, but it is honest, complex, breathtaking, and absolutely epic!
An amazing story of love, perseverance, and survival, Out Front the Following Sea is both dark and hopeful. A wonderful mix of action, suspense, history, and romance, this is a story that will stay with you a long time after finishing it. I’m so thankful to Leah Angstman, Regal House Publishing, and Lori Hettler at TNBBC for a copy of this amazing book in exchange for my honest review.
- Ruth – she is an amazing protagonist, richly developed and compelling.
- The love story. I’m a sucker for a good love story, and this one is like no other!
- The history.
There is a perfect dawn after every storm.
Who was Ruth? What defined this being? A new identity swept through her bones with rigor, and she felt them calcify, as if her whole self – whatever it was – had turned bone-thick and could push back against the shrinking walls.
Don’t believe all that you think. You’ll not find truth in beliefs.
Sometimes Ruth felt that if she could explain the sun, the moon, the stars, the tides, the very order of the universe, she’d figure out how those events and consequences all intertwined to create their own order in turn, and that somehow, there was a place, a reason, and an explanation for all of it, and in her own understanding of this, she’d find her own order in the universe, an answer to whys and hows of the past, where they crossed with the hows of the future.(from Out Front the Following Sea)