The Outcasts is decidedly anti-climactic for all the build-up regarding the mysterious McGill. For one, the entire plot is too predictable. Supposed plot twists are not twisty, and hidden identities are anything but hidden. Even the most careless reader can pick up on the direction of the plot and hazard accurate guesses as to the eventual outcome. The story is still enjoyable as decent stories are but not as suspenseful as was intended.
As is often the way of things, the bad guys are more exciting than the good guys. Nate Cannon is too flat and rigid in his rule-following to be truly interesting. He is the quintessential white-hatted cowboy – the unequivocal good guy. Even his shadowy past is a nonissue. There is just no depth to his character to provide any tension, especially when contrasted to Lucinda. Lucinda is not necessarily evil, but she is definitely ruthless. There are nuances to her story that adds depth to her character and makes her fascinating. She is also the least predictable of the character list as well, making her the most interesting facet of the novel.
It is not as if The Outcasts is a bad novel. In fact, it is quite a fun little read. However, there is less complexity to the story than the synopsis suggests, and therein lays the disappointment. Those looking for a rather fun but predictable historical fiction novel about a dynamic, merciless woman will find Kathleen Kent’s latest to be a perfect fit. Those hoping for more profundity in their historical fiction novels would be best served by picking up something.