Recommended by Jenna
Heresy is a historical fiction that follows an all women, old west outlaw gang through their exploits in the Colorado frontier.
Margaret Parker and Hattie le Cour are at the heart of this turn of the century story, where a widowed woman and an escaped slave are driven off their successful horse ranch in the Colorado rockies by a jealous and spurned fellow rancher, who happens to own a few banks. What follows are the classic stagecoach robberies, train heists, and search for lost justice that are hallmarks of the western genre. However, when the Heresy ranch gang takes on a reporter woman who promises to tell their story, and get them their due credit, all bets are off. The history of the west was written on the back of a horse, but it is rarely told from the mouths of women. Told as alternating interviews with an older Hattie, and first person narration from Margaret, this is a western sure to appease the genre’s existing fans, and pull in true greenhorns.
For fans of classical westerns, historical fiction, and women’s fiction— From January Staff Picks to Help You Reach Your Reading Goals in 2019
"An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West . . . and that's exactly what Melissa Lenhardt delivers in her unapologetically badass western, Heresy." - New York Times
"Lenhardt has created a bold new story where women have taken their rightful place in the narrative of the Outlaw Western genre; where wit, wisdom and wiles could mean the difference between life and death, and where the fellowship of women bested every challenge." -- Kathleen Kent
Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw.
After being run off their ranch by a greedy cattleman, their family is left destitute. As women alone they have few choices: marriage, lying on their backs for money, or holding a gun. For Margaret and Hattie the choice is simple. With their small makeshift family, the gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.
Though the newspapers refuse to give the female gang credit, their exploits don't go unnoticed. Pinkertons are on their trail, a rival male gang is determined to destroy them, and secrets among the group threaten to tear them apart. Now, Margaret and Hattie must find a way to protect their family, finish one last job, and avoid the hangman's noose.
"Readers who relish an unusual narrative structure will enjoy this unique take on the traditional western." -- Booklist
About the Author
Melissa Lenhardt is the author of Heresy, the Sawbones historical fiction series, and the Jack McBride mystery series. Her debut mystery, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers' MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and Sawbones, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. She lives in Texas with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.
"[An] unapologetically badass western . . . . Mayhem ensues. There will be shootouts and standoffs. There will be rotgut whiskey and weary horses. There will be cattle rustlers and scores to settle. The only difference is that women get all the action. It's about time."—New York Times
"Melissa Lenhardt has created a bold new story where women have taken their rightful place in the narrative of the Outlaw Western genre; where wit, wisdom and wiles could mean the difference between life and death, and where the fellowship of women bested every challenge."—Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter
"Heresy is the feminist Western I never knew I wanted . . . . It's fun and fast paced and I was completely hooked from the first page. Completely perfect."—Book Riot
"A rollicking, engrossing book that'll keep you reading well past your bedtime."—BookPage
"This story is written at a gallop, with so many plots overlapping, that the reader will be fully engaged . . . . Heresy is a Wild West epic, with heroes that have largely been written out of history."—Historical Novel Society
"Packs a big punch with grit and raw passion. There is mystery, murder, Indians, bounty hunters and intrigue. The women are brave, intelligent and don't take crap from anyone. Lenhardt is a talented, creative writer; she has a grand slam out of the park with Sawbones."—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!) 4.5 stars on Sawbones
"Raw, gritty and sometimes graphic, Melissa Lenhardt has crafted a page-turner. In Sawbones, the women are smart, brave and at times 'incorrigible.' The plot twists, unique characters and intriguing story of passion and betrayal make this a book well worth discovering."—Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of A Light in the Wilderness on Sawbones
"Melissa Lenhardt has given us an amazing heroine and sent her on a thrilling journey from the teeming streets of New York City to the vast wilderness of the Texas frontier. Dr. Catherine Bennett's adventure will keep you turning pages long into the night!"—Victoria Thompson, USA Today bestselling author of Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue, on Sawbones
"You will fall in love with Catherine, as I did, as she struggles to assert herself in a violent and treacherous world, fighting not only prejudice but evil. Melissa Lenhardt's heroine is a passionate, compassionate woman, who must deal with Indians and bounty hunters, fear and injustice -- and even love."—Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author, on Sawbones
"Sawbones is a thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new subgenre: the feminist Western."—Lone Star Literary Life on Sawbones