"With Out Front the Following Sea, Leah Angstman reveals herself as a brave new voice in historical fiction. With staggering authenticity, Angstman gives us a story of America before it was America—an era rife with witch hunts and colonial intrigue and New World battles all but forgotten in our history books and popular culture. This is historical fiction that speaks to the present, recalling the bold spirits and cultural upheavals of a nation yet to be born." —Taylor Brown, author of Pride of Eden, Gods of Howl Mountain, The River of Kings, Fallen Land, and In the Season of Blood & Gold
"Steeped in lush prose, authentic period detail, and edge-of-your-seat action, Out Front the Following Sea is a rollicking good read. Leah Angstman keeps the story moving at a breathtaking pace, and she knows more 17th century seafaring language and items of everyday use than you can shake a stick at. The result is a compelling work of romance, adventure, and historical illumination that pulls the reader straight in." —Rilla Askew, author of Fire in Beulah and The Mercy Seat
"Leah Angstman has written the historical novel that I didn’t know I needed to read. Out Front the Following Sea is set in an oft-forgotten time in the brutal wilds of pre-America that is so vividly and authentically drawn, with characters that are so alive and relevant, and a narrative so masterfully paced and plotted, that Angstman has performed the miracle of layering the tumultuous past over our troubled present to gift us a sparkling new reality." —Kevin Catalano, author of Where the Sun Shines Out and Deleted Scenes and Other Stories
"Out Front the Following Sea is a fascinating book, the kind of historical novel that evokes its time and place so vividly that the effect is just shy of hallucinogenic. I enjoyed it immensely." —Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest, The Walkaway, Cottonwood, Hop Alley, The Adjustment, and Rake
"Out Front the Following Sea is a meticulously researched novel that mixes history, love story, and suspense. Watching Angstman’s willful protagonist, Ruth Miner, openly challenge the brutal world of 17th-Century New England, with its limiting ideas about gender, race, and science, was a delight." —Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance
"Leah Angstman is a gifted storyteller with a poet’s sense of both beauty and darkness, and her stunning historical novel, Out Front the Following Sea, establishes her as one of the most exciting young novelists in the country. Angstman plunges the reader into a brilliantly realized historical milieu peopled by characters real enough to touch. And in Ruth Miner, we are introduced to one of the most compelling protagonists in contemporary literature, a penetratingly intelligent, headstrong woman who is trying to survive on her wits alone in a Colonial America that you won’t find in the history books. A compulsive, vivid read that will change the way you look at the origins of our country, Leah Angstman’s Out Front the Following Sea announces the arrival of a preternatural talent." —Ashley Shelby, author of Muri, South Pole Station, and Red River Rising
"Rich, lyrical, and atmospheric, with a poet’s hand and a historian’s attention to detail. In Out Front the Following Sea, Leah Angstman creates an immersive world for readers to get lost in and a fascinating story to propel them through it. A thoroughly engaging and compelling tale." —Steph Post, author of Holding Smoke, Miraculum, Walk in the Fire, Lightwood, and A Tree Born Crooked
"Rich in deeply researched detail, and peopled by complex characters, Out Front the Following Sea is a fascinating story that is bound to entrance readers of historical fiction." —Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything
In this historical novel set in the late 17th century, a woman battles for love and her own independence.
In 1689, Ruth Miner lives in Shrewsbury, a town in the East Jersey province of New England. She’s uncommonly assertive for the time, and despite societal pressures, “convention escaped Ruth, and she, it.” She lives in penury as an outcast in her own town; it’s widely believed that she burned down her own house and murdered her parents and that she’s a witch. She finally flees Shrewsbury on a ship, the Primrose, headed for Stonington, Connecticut. The vessel’s first mate is Owen Townsend, her oldest friend, with whom she maintains a complicated relationship. He protects her aboard a ship populated by leering men and also harbors long-standing affection for her, which she reciprocates. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Samuel Whitlock, a powerful military figure, wants to force the Primroseinto a war brewing between England and France. However, Owen is loyal to France—his mother is French, though his father, the captain of the Primrose, is English. Over the course of this novel, Angstman delicately limns the relationship between Owen and Ruth, which is fraught with tangled history but profoundly tender. She also delivers a scrupulously researched novel that’s as historically rigorous as it is authentic in tone. However, the work strains too hard to present readers with lessons regarding the oppression of patriarchy that, while worthy, are executed so clumsily that they seem condescending. This is a shame, because the book has notable literary virtues, not the least of which is its sharp, witty dialogue.
A historically astute novel hampered by heavy-handed moralizing.