by Erin Bowman
For some stupid darn reason Vengeance Road’s been on my TBR list for a long time. I actually ended up reading Under a Painted Sky and Walk on Earth a Stranger (both historical fiction wherein a girl dresses up like a boy and goes pioneer, sometimes looking for gold) first.
Those other two books were fine, but Vengeance Road kind of blew them out of the water. I mean, it’s a bit like if someone took a spaghetti western and and ghost stories and made the rough-cut, cursing loner cowboy hero into a girl whose Pa has been strung up by outlaws and now she’s on a lonely path of vengeance that takes her into mountainous, Apache territory where a ghost shooter keeps away prospectors searching for a fabled cache of gold.
And also added two handsome cowboy brothers to both hinder and help her along the way, as well as add a touch of no nonsense romance. “He smelled of mountains and felt like home.” etc.
Kate Thompson done won my heart. This story, wherein there are fables and legends, and no one is what they seem, and both Kate and her cowboy Jesse make bad decisions about not trusting is quite the tale. Kate kills. More than outlaws die. But she is stubborn and barrels on through danger so her Pa can rest easy. Even the treatment of the Apache girl that helps Kate walks the tricky balance between how people of her time would have treated her and a more fair representation of what her people had to live with.
Maybe not a good book for the lower YA crowd due to the gunbattles and descriptions of what the outlaw gangs do to their victims, but wow, is this a good book.
Going to check out Bowman’s other series now….