We first meet Mary, the widow, while she's just left her house and is on the run. She has killed her husband for reasons so far unknown and has left her home to escape her brothers-in-law. She has nothing to her name and must learn to survive in the wilderness, as this is 1903.
As Mary makes her way through the Canadian wilderness, she meets a few people that knowingly or unknowingly help her out. But her brothers-in-law are on her tail. She winds up in a mining town of mostly men, working with a priest to help him build his church.
For a book with little dialogue, the momentum was maintained quite well. We learn about how Mary came to be in her situation (justified or not, I'm still not certain), but we mostly read about her survival. This part of the book is the most satisfying. Mary's past was far less satisfying as it seems like there should have been a bigger and better reason for her to risk her life.
This book is an impressing debut novel.
First Line: "It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling."