Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road – Erin BowmanTitle: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Publishing Info: September 1, 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 19, 2015

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’ve never read a Western before — honestly not one Western that I can recall — so I was both nervous and excited to read VENGEANCE ROAD! The extent of my Western pop culture knowledge pretty much comes from Back to the Future Part III, so that about sums up my tangles with the Wild West. VENGEANCE ROAD was a fun and fast-paced read that quickly dissolved and qualms I had about reading something so different for me in the realm of historical fiction and I’m so glad I was able to read and enjoy!

The book took off for me pretty quickly. Right away, there was a little bit of action and I immediately took to Kate’s character. She was spunky, determined, and tough as nails and she made a great heroine for this revenge story! I honestly loved how ruthless she was and I don’t normally root for people to seek out revenge but the atmosphere of the Wild West just totally demanded that Kate got her vengeance. There were also some really nice twists in the book! Some I could see coming but others were just a total surprise! I really enjoyed how Erin Bowman put this story together and brought readers on the journey right alongside Kate.

The setting was just excellent. I really could picture myself with the characters the whole time and Erin Bowman did a great job at really making this world come alive! I definitely picked up the desert-vibe as well as the time period and it was so fun to envision myself going on a journey with these characters (although thankfully I didn’t have to endure the peril that they did)!

One of the great things about this book is that is that for a non-historical fiction person like me, it felt more like a book full of action in a specific setting. I shy away from a lot of historical pieces because I’m just not a history person so I don’t usually enjoy all of the implied references, historical settings, and characters based on actual people. I supposed it’s not that I don’t enjoy them but without the extensive historical background, I’m not able to appreciate them as much. VENGEANCE ROAD certainly does have all of those things but if you’re not a history buff, you don’t feel like those things are going right over your head. It was also a very different time period and physical location than I’m used to with a lot of historical fiction so it was definitely fun and fresh for me!

If you’re unsure of VENGEANCE ROAD for any reason, I don’t think you need to worry. It was a truly picturesque book with some excellent action and a really stand-out heroine to boot. I think readers will really enjoy!


“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

vengeance road gr updates


Kate // Character Obsessions: Revenge, family, survival.
I really loved Kate. Right away I connected with her and I sort of loved how cold and ruthless she was. I also think I’m a sucker for any character who starts out cold and full of hate and softens a bit. I love that she never gave up her mission though she did learn to compromise. She was so strong and just really fun to read about.


Kept Me Hooked On: Westerns. Heyyyyy, I like Westerns? Well, maybe. This book opened the door to other ones though and made me feel comfortable to try them!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. I’m not sure if it was because Kate was so hell-bent on her revenge mission (which I enjoyed) but I felt like I could have connected JUST a bit more emotionally. Sometimes it’s me and a book or me and a character but I was left wanting juuuust a bit more to really pull me in!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was a lot of fun! It was quick, well-written, and had some really nice characters. A really fun read for me.



(Click the cover to see my review!)


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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13 thoughts on “Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman

  1. Olivia Roach

    I have never heard of the Western kind of theme being used in YA before so that will definitely be something new for me. But I would like to try new and your book rebiew makes this sound like one very much worth reading so I am adding it to my TBR.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Yes! Western was so new to me but the setting was just amazing! Hope you enjoy it when you get to it 🙂

  2. SERIESous Book Reviews

    I also really enjoyed this one! I had never read a Western before but I think I’m going to have to read more in the future!

    I agree, it was hard to connect to Kate because she is closed off as a character but I think it worked with her. She’s a girl scorned seeking revenge and doesn’t want to get hurt after what happens to her so it complemented the plot well. Though of course, as a reader you always want that emotion connection to your narrator/lead.

    1. Brittany Post author

      It was so much fun! I loved the way it was put together. And yes, definitely! That makes perfect sense about Kate. I’m really glad we got to break that shell a bit!

  3. Alexa S.

    I really enjoyed Vengeance Road! I loved how Erin depicted Kate’s determination to exact revenge on behalf of her father, and I really liked reading the entire journey that unfolds too. Definitely a Western I enjoyed!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Me too! It was so much fun and I really enjoyed how everything unfolded. So glad it opened me up to Westerns too!

  4. Emma @ Miss Print

    I’m a big fan of movie and TV westerns and really enjoyed this one too. I agree with you about Kate though. I think her anger for most of the book really did work to keep readers (and other characters) at a distance until she was ready to let them in.

  5. Audrey Greathouse

    Haha! I love that this book just sucked you in despite the fact that you had no experience with the genre. THAT is the mark of a great book. It has been ages since I read a western…but I remember thoroughly enjoying Shane when I was in high school, so maybe I should return to the genre again. This sounds like it would be the perfect book to get me started back down the historical fiction road. I personally am a fan of vengeance tales, so just about everything you’ve told me about this book makes me want to read it! Thanks for the thorough review.

  6. Kate @ Mom's Radius

    I need to read this book because (1) I love Westerns! I’ve never read one, but I love Back to the Future Part 3 and Lonesome Dove and (2) the main character’s name is Kate! That’s not a very common character name. This book sounds really fun. I’ll check it out! Good review.

  7. Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    I’m glad you liked this one. I’ve heard really good things. I’m planning to start it pretty soon. I’m not a huge fan of revenge stories either but it does seem to work for Westerns. And can we just take a minute to say Back to the Future III? That’s the worst one. I also do like the implied references in historical fiction novels but the action-packed plot sounds just as interesting. Great review!


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