Book Club Questions for Outlawed by Anna North

by Heather Caliendo
outlawed book club questions - book club chat
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Book club questions for Outlawed by Anna North takes a closer look at this alternative history take on the Wild West. There will be spoilers so for my thoughts on the book, check out my review here.

I mentioned in my review but this book was not for me. It was a struggle to even finish it. Let me know if you had a different opinion!

The synopsis

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. 

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.

Book Club Questions for Outlawed

  • What did you think about this alternate history take of the Wild West and the U.S.?
  • A devastating flu sweeps the country, which kills many people but also makes so many people infertile. Why do you think the author went with that story choice?
  • What does it say about the society created in this novel where the women who couldn’t have children were either killed or outcast from their homes? Why is the blame always on the women?
  • Let’s say a flu had a similar impact (causing infertility) to our currently reality—how do you think our own society would react?
  • Why did Ada decide she wanted to join with the Hole in the Wall Gang? What would you have done if you were Ada?
  • She experiences quite a few missteps but when did she start to finally find her place among the outlaws?
  • What did you think about the mysterious Kid? Did you want to know more about this character?
  • Each of the women in the gang, and also Lark, have been wounded in many ways—cast out of society for being who they are. Did you see parallels to their treatment in the book to that of the LGBTQ community?
  • Let’s talk about Kid’s ideal world to create a safe haven for women.
  • What did you think about the ending? What’s next for Ada?
  • Would you read a sequel to this story?

More recommendations

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Outlawed! Here are two more Reese’s Book Club picks with links to book club questions.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

If you’re looking for another Western type story, be sure to check out The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England.  But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. 

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond. 

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.


The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

If you’re looking for something a little lighter, The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia is a good choice.

In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state–and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . . 

The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight–even if doing so pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.

Happy reading!

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