‘Out Front the Following Sea’ by Louisville author Leah Angstman combines fiction with little known facts about 17th century Pre-America history

A new novel by Louisville author Leah Angstman is making quite the buzz in the world of historical fiction.

“Out Front the Following Sea,” Angstman’s debut novel takes place during the 17th century and details many historical facts that most people aren’t aware of, including “a little-known war on pre-American soil.”

The novel follows the journey of Ruth Minor as she flees persecution for witchcraft in the murder of her parents during the 1689 Ruth takes refuge as a stowaway on a ship with sailor and friend, Owen.

While Ruth hopes to leave behind her troubles in England and start a new life, she is faced with new challenges as she comes face to face with Pequot Indians, Quakers, soldiers, highwaymen and new townsfolk.

“The book is on the cusp of historical fiction and literary fiction. It has the prose, but it has a lot of action and adventure in it,” the author explained. “But it doesn’t really run that commercial historical fiction route. This one is a little darker and moodier and has some of the brutality of the 1600s wilderness of New England.”

A fan of American pre-Revolution history, Angstman wanted to set her novel during this little known or talked about time period in US history.

“For me, I really want to get the exactingness of this time out there and have it be kind of educational while still a story and entertaining,” Angstman. “I love the 1600s and I love the age of sailing. I kind of tap out when we have cars and phones and communication is really easy. I tend to want things to take five months for communication to get from one place to another and all of the stuff that can go tragically wrong in-between.

“I want that time period to be more seen and more visible and more understood.”

“Out Front the Following Sea” by Louisville author Leah Angstman is a historical novel set in the 17th-century and details the journey of Ruth Miner as she flees accusations of being a witch. (Photo courtesy Leah Angstman)

With historical accuracy in the forefront of her mind, Angstman meticulously researched the time period as she wrote the story, which many times helped shaped Ruth and Owen’s story.

“I look at everything from what was the phase of the moon on a certain night to what was the weather like,” Angstman said. “And you find out it was the coldest winter on record, and that shapes your story; you find out that there was a full moon on a certain night, so they couldn’t escape in darkness or something like that. I tried to stick very close to the facts of things that happened as well as try to tell a story.”

Angstman was able to set the story in a town that had several historical diaries and records from that time period.

“The founders of the town had drawn maps and had chronicled a lot of their lives in this town, so that they gave me a really rich resource to mine from,” Angstman said. “I used a lot of town records and census and also just understanding what the housing was like. I love research architecture.”

“Out Front Following the Sea” addresses many issues that are still relevant in today’s world, including feminism, misogyny, the treatment of those different than us, physical and mental abuse, and the not-so-perfect legal system.

The book has earned several accolades, including Most Anticipated Read of 2022 by Passages to the Past, and is a finalist for the Chaucer Award for Pre-1750s Historical Fiction.

“’Out Front the Following Sea’ is a meticulously researched novel that mixes history, love story, and suspense,” author Aline Ohanesian said. “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.”

Angstman has been writing and running her own independent press since she was a mere 13-years old.

“I’ve published over 300 books of other people’s writing and work and set up publicity and tours and all that stuff,” Angstman said. “I have been writing and publishing my own stuff in smaller journals for years.”

Despite being a long-time writer, “Out Front the Following Sea” is Angstman’s first novel. The piece took the author 11 years to complete.

“So, yeah, it’s finally here. Yay!” she quipped, laughing.

“Out Front Following the Sea,” published by Regal House Publishing, can be purchased in hardcover, paperback and e-reader at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Kobo, Books-A-Million and through Angstman’s website at www.leahangstman. com.

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