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Lone Women

av Victor LaValle

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6953033,159 (3.83)22
"Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It's locked at all times. Because when the trunk is opened, people around her start to disappear... The year is 1914, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, and forced her to flee her hometown of Redondo, California, in a hellfire rush, ready to make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will be one of the "lone women" taking advantage of the government's offer of free land for those who can cultivate it-except that Adelaide isn't alone. And the secret she's tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing keeping her alive"--… (mer)
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» Se även 22 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 29 (nästa | visa alla)
The setup of this book was excellent, and the first 50 pages really drew me in, but I ended up feeling disappointed by the execution. In the opening scene, we see Adelaide Henry, a 31-year-old Black farmer, leaving her home after having apparently murdered her parents and burning down her childhood home. She lights out for Montana to start a new life as a homesteader, taking with her only a small traveling bag and a mysteriously heavy, ominous trunk that she guards jealously. Adelaide arrives in Montana and starts to meet people in her new life; she also struggles with the hardships of living in a barely-furnished shack during the Montana winter and planning for how she will endure for the 3 years it will take to make the land self-sustaining so she can cement her legal claim. All the time she worries not only that she will starve/freeze but also fears that whatever is in the chest will break out and destroy her hard-won independence. The tension in the first third (or so) of the book is well-managed, but after that the book suffers from poor characterization, awkward pacing, and a lack of clarity and cohesiveness that turned me off.

After the reveal about what's in the chest, we completely lose the thread of Adelaide's story that is committed to facing the harsh conditions. Noting that she has just a bag of potatoes, a couple jars of preserves, and $5 to make it through the winter, the author then completely drops this line of the plot and allows her to survive for what appears to be several more weeks or months without doing any work or improvement on her homestead, let alone setting aside stores or preparing for spring planting. The novel shifts to other players around the area and their stories--not always successfully. Most of the side characters were not very well developed and their motivations were unclear in a lot of cases.

Finally, I still can't figure out what the point of the creature was. Much of the endgame plot felt engineered to getting us to that final chapter, which was a lovely utopian fantasy and cinched things up nicely. I don't read/watch enough horror to really know the tropes of the genre, but I tend to expect that the reveal will clarify some larger thematic point or illuminate a cultural fear. But that didn't really happen here. The best I can do is that the townspeople's hatred of the unknown paradoxically creates a situation in which outcasts can thrive and come into their own--but until the creature started rampaging, the townspeople actually seemed quite nice and accepting, so it kind of falls apart when I look at it too hard. A bit of a wasted opportunity. ( )
  sansmerci | Apr 15, 2024 |
Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I borrowed a copy of this on ebook from my library.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this quite a bit and especially loved how the book ended. This was a very different read but I loved the history here as well as the unique, strong female characters. Prior to reading this I had read Lavalle's "The Ballad of Black Tom" and really enjoyed that as well.

Adelaide Henry joins us standing over the dead bodies of her parents while she prepares to burn her Californian house down and journey out to Montana. Out in Montana she hopes to claim a homestead, taking advantage of the "lone woman" loop hole in the government's offer of free land to any person who can make the land productive and survive. Adelaide doesn't bring much with her, just a mysterious truck that is strangely heavy and that she is very protective of.

I loved the adventure overtones to this book and really enjoyed the mystery of what was in the truck. Adelaide and the other "lone women" are fascinating characters; they are tough and resourceful with very different pasts. However, they have a current goal that brings them together...surviving the Montana winter and the dangers it brings. Add to this a town of dubious residents and a bit of a fantasy/horror element and you have a story that I struggled to put down.

This story is about survival and striking out on one's own and finding a family for yourself when your own family has failed you. There are heavy horror elements and some of the scenes get very gory. I enjoyed every bit of this and especially liked the ending. It was fun to see an ending like this for a historical fantasy horror story.

My Summary (4/5): Overall I really enjoyed this. This is a bit of a different story about strong women, adventure on the western frontier, survival, and things that go bump in the night. I would recommend if you are looking for something in that vein or if you are just looking for a historical western fantasy that is a bit different from anything else you have read and don't mind some horror elements.

This is the second book by Lavalle I have really enjoyed. I love his unique historical re-imaginings, intriguing characters and the way he blends in dark horror/fantasy elements. I definitely plan on picking up his other books as well ( )
  krau0098 | Mar 7, 2024 |
Wild and suspenseful in the best ways possible! The 1915 Montana setting acts as a perfect landscape for a story about personal pasts, the strength of women, and monsters. I can’t wait to read more from LaValle. ( )
  deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
I really enjoyed this tense feminist historical western thriller novel. The opening chapter pulls you right into the story and the tension and sense of unease builds as Adelaide travels alone to Montana from California with the family secret locked in a steamer trunk. She intends to homestead some land and make a new life where no one knows about her and her family.

The pacing can sometimes feel off but the sense of dread never lets go. The characters are well written, even if most everyone is tough to like. The big reveal of what is in the trunk isn't the only twist in the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this strange book and the story of Adelaide and the other lone women. ( )
  walterqchocobo | Jan 20, 2024 |
Every book I've read by Victor LaValle has been unexpected. I have never been able to figure out, going in, what is in store for me. They are all imaginative, unconventional, and unique. They, at least the ones that I have read, are all a history lesson in disguise.

Lone Women is no exception. It is a thrill ride from page one. I don't want to say anything about it because I don't want to spoil the story for you but, suffice it to say, it adds a whole new dimension to the idea of hard times on the high prairie. ( )
  Unkletom | Jan 18, 2024 |
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"Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It's locked at all times. Because when the trunk is opened, people around her start to disappear... The year is 1914, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, and forced her to flee her hometown of Redondo, California, in a hellfire rush, ready to make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will be one of the "lone women" taking advantage of the government's offer of free land for those who can cultivate it-except that Adelaide isn't alone. And the secret she's tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing keeping her alive"--

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