This book grabbed me from the very first page with the description of the protagonist. “Nineteen years old and already a widow. Mary Boulton. Widowed by her own hand.” What drove Mary, or “the widow” as Adamson refers to her throughout the book, to murder her husband and flee West? We find out in brief flashbacks and dark descriptions of her depression, loss of an infant, and unhappy marriage. On her trail are the twin brothers of her husband, bent on revenge. Mary retreats into the wilderness, meeting a few eccentrics along the way such as William Moreland, mostly referred to as “the ridgerunner” who is the outlander of the title. Mary and William spend a few passionate days together, but William just isn’t cut out for even the small amount of civilization that Mary brings into his life and he vanishes. Mary finds her way to a small mining town where the relentless twins eventually catch up with her. A beautifully written first novel whose style is reminiscent of Cold Mountain. Recommended.