Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical
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When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.
I have to be honest and say this book initially caught my eye because of the cover. I love it!
But then reading the blurb drew me in and made me want to read this book. I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed the movie True Grit and this kind of reminded me of that.
Kate’s path is set for revenge when she comes home one day to find her father murdered and her house on fire. As a child growing up, her father drilled into her head if anything happens to him, she’s to go to “Abe in Wickenburg.” But first Kate has to find out who killed her father then she can go find Abe. After she goes to see Abe she plans on tracking them down the murderer and killing him. When she arrives at Abe’s homestead, she finds out he died, but he also told his children that a girl will be coming to them for help. However, Kate has disguised herself as a boy, so she calls herself Nate Thompson. Abe’s adult sons, Jesse and Will, never thought a Thompson would show up on their doorstep but they do have something for ‘Nate.’ A letter from her father that outlines why he was murdered. Basically it was gold. So Kate heads out but it isn’t long before she realizes she has a tail – Jesse and Will. They claim they’re headed in the same direction for work, they usually do a cattle run and that’s where they’re headed. Kate doesn’t want them at first but when they save each other from a run in with Kate’s father’s murderers – the Rose Riders – Kate decides they can stick around. She doesn’t appreciate the fact she has to continue pretending to be a boy but she can see the benefits to teaming up.
Some crazy hijinks ensue with Kate, Jesse and Will. Eventually the guys figure out she’s a girl (when she gets shot!) and they have quite a few run ins with the Rose Riders before a final showdown. Kate also picks up another straggler, a young Aboriginal woman, who also helps out when things go topsy turvy for this crew.
I enjoyed Vengeance Road. It was like a western road trip that I could easily see made into a movie. It wasn’t a lighthearted story though, Kate has moral dilemmas to face (can she really kill in cold blood?) and there was unexpected losses and a real twist at the end. But she was a strong heroine and I liked that she went after what she thought was right even though several people told her to turn back. She had gumption. This was the first book I read by Erin Bowman but I would definitely read something by her again. I’m glad I picked this book up.
3.75 out of 5