Book Review: Lone Women by Victor LaValle

Posted March 30, 2023 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 18 Comments

Lone Women
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Victor LaValle
Publication Date March 28, 2023
Published by Random House Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Historical, Fiction / Horror, Fiction / Literary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

Blue skies, empty land—and enough wide-open space to hide a horrifying secret. A woman with a past, a mysterious trunk, a town on the edge of nowhere, and an “absorbing, powerful” (BuzzFeed) new vision of the American West, from the award-winning author of The Changeling.

“Propulsive . . . LaValle combines chills with deep insights into our country’s divides.”—Los Angeles Times

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2023: The New York Times, Time, Oprah Daily, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Essence, Salon, Vulture, Reader’s Digest, The Root, LitHub, Paste, PopSugar, Chicago Review of Books, BookPage, Book Riot, Tordotcom, Crime Reads, Kirkus Reviews

Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It’s locked at all times. Because when the trunk opens, people around Adelaide start to disappear.

The year is 1915, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, forcing her to flee California in a hellfire rush and make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will become one of the “lone women” taking advantage of the government’s offer of free land for those who can tame it—except that Adelaide isn’t alone. And the secret she’s tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing that will help her survive the harsh territory.

Crafted by a modern master of magical suspense, Lone Women blends shimmering prose, an unforgettable cast of adventurers who find horror and sisterhood in a brutal landscape, and a portrait of early-twentieth-century America like you’ve never seen. And at its heart is the gripping story of a woman desperate to bury her past—or redeem it.

Lone Women by Victor LaValle is a book of many genres.  It’s women’s fiction, historical fiction, thriller, mystery, horror, suspense, and some magic.  I enjoyed this mixture very much.  

Story Recap:

Lone Women refers to the practice of single women going to Montana to homestead.  In this book, we meet Adelaide Henry, a lone woman who must leave California to hide from the secrets that took her parents.  She rushes off to Montana with her steamer trunk of troubles to start a homestead in 1915.  

Adelines’s steamer trunk stays locked all the time because when she opens it, people start to disappear. 

My Thoughts: 

Lone Women is a sweeping saga set in the early 1900s in Montana.  I really enjoyed this story.  I’m not one to enjoy horror, but the horror element wasn’t strong so I was fine with it.  I loved all the characters and give the author credit for writing such unusual and compelling characters.  

The setting was perfect for the story.  The untamed territory of Montana in a small town where anything can happen helps to build the suspense of this story.  The story of single lone women homesteading is one I haven’t heard before and I enjoyed learning more about them.  

Victor LaValle writes a beautiful, atmospheric tale of strength, determination, cruelty, vengeance, and terrifying secrets.  Although this is a dark story, it has its uplifting moments that gave it the balance that I like.  


I highly recommend Lone Women to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Victor LaValle

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, five novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, The Changeling, and Lone Women, and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of two comic books Victor LaValle's DESTROYER and EVE.

His novel, The Changeling, will soon be airing on Apple TV+ starring LaKeith Stanfield.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Shirley Jackson Award, American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens.

He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in the Bronx with his wife, the writer Emily Raboteau, and their kids. He teaches at Columbia University.

Book Challenges:

Lone Women counts towards my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

18 responses to “Book Review: Lone Women by Victor LaValle

  1. What a great mix of genres. I was invited to read this one, but the horror designation scared me. Now I am hoping my library gets it. Wonderful review, Wendy.

  2. kamifurr

    I’m not one for horror as well, but I’ve wanted to try more from that genre. This might be a good intro.