Having grown up in a time when westerns and cowboys ruled the airwaves, the Recommender was excited to read a new book about a cowgirl called Grace and the Guiltless by Erin Johnson. Grace is a tough, smart girl with a loving family who have moved to Arizona to try and make a living ranching and breaking and selling horses.
One evening Grace is trapped down in the cellar where she was sent to get vegetables for her Ma's dinner. The heavy door has slammed shut and she's left in the dark searching for the stick that propped the door open.
Suddenly, she hears horses and riders in the yard above her. Her Dad arguing with them. It's Elijah Hale and his posse, the Guiltless Gang. They have been after their property and even though her Dad has one more year to pay off and own the ranch outright, the gang have other ideas.
Shots are fired and screams and more yelling, she manages to get the door open enough to peek out and see her mother and brother lying on the ground. Her Dad catches her eye and lets her know to stay out of sight, but how can she when her family are being murdered right before her eyes. Before she knows it, her Dad is gone, and her little sister and, after the gang set fire to her house and ride away, she finds her baby brother dead, as well.
Swearing vengeance, Grace buries her whole family, searches out Bullet, the semi-wild horse that only she can ride, and sets off to right some wrongs.
Grace is not super girl. Mistakes are made along the road to learning how to survive and live alone. There are corrupt officials to deal with. There is also, a young man who may or may not be an Apache, who reaches out and helps her when others turn their backs. This mystery man will play a larger role as we follow Grace on her trail of retribution into what will become a series.
Well written with lots of action, some violence, and insights into Native American culture make this a great book for any fan of the genre.