Out Front the Following Sea

Written by Leah Angstman
Review by Bonnie DeMoss

This is the story of Ruth Miner and her journey of survival in 17th-century New England. Accused of witchcraft after her parents’ deaths, she stows away on the ship of her friend Owen, who feels responsible for all her misfortune. However, they both soon find themselves fighting for their lives as the war between England and France in 1689, known as King William’s War, begins. Ruth’s strength and independence make her a target in this patriarchal society, and Owen, who has French ancestry, is treated as a suspect by the English. After Owen and Ruth find love, a harsh and domineering man tries to destroy them both.

What a wonderful and authentic work of historical fiction! The dialogue is completely true to the period, and there is a helpful list of non-English phrases at the end of the book. The descriptions of the people and their prejudices are completely realistic. The reader is shown how the absolute oppression of women includes death to any woman who seeks to be different, and how the accusation of witchcraft is a convenient excuse. The superstitions of the time are fascinating and well-researched. The wildness of the New World and the cruelty of those in power against anyone who disagrees with them are splashed in blood across the pages of this realistic and no-holds-barred novel. Out Front the Following Sea is an odyssey in an untamed country that will one day be America. Those interested in American history will want to explore this oft-forgotten period in her past.