There has to be another book! It can’t just end with Grace leaving Joe behind to seek revenge for her family…
See, what happens is, Grace’s family is murdered, leaving Grace and her horse, Bullet, all alone. Having witnessed the whole thing and feeling sick to her stomach about it all, Grace has one mission and one mission only: to treat Hale and the Guiltless Gang the way they treated her family. The problem is, when she heads into town, the sheriff does nothing to help her, as if her family was never killed right before her eyes. That’s when a stranger throws some money her way to wash and clean up and she must find a way to pay him back while taking justice in her own hands.
Thus begins her journey into the desert, fighting off a bear, almost dying from poisonous berries, swallowing a raw fish from pure hunger, and finally, finding a place she can call her temporary new home amongst the Ndeh people.
Erin Johnson’s novel, Grace and the Guiltless, is the first book in the Wanted series and is an action-packed Western featuring a strong-willed fearless girl who is determined to conquer any obstacles in her path. Although some parts of the book were predictable, namely the bear, the berries, and Grace falling for Joe despite her reservations, the book is definitely an entertaining read that fans outside of the Western genre can enjoy as well. And most importantly, it leaves you wanting more. You have to know what happens next or else!
Grace is a teenaged girl who kicks butt gradually. Johnson doesn’t automatically equip her heroine with every skill she needs to handle whatever crosses her path. She adds Joe to the mix to teach her and guide her with patience, showing that ultimately it is Grace’s iron-nailed determination to survive and stand up for her family that motivates her to learn all the skills necessary to survive in the wild in order to face the Guiltless Gang. She goes through a growth process for sure and even though by the end of the book she has not really learned the lesson of forgiveness, you know she is more prepared for the dangers up ahead in book two of the series.
On top of that, Grace saves Joe’s life a couple of times and surprises him with her shooting and hunting skills which goes to show that not all girls want to be saved by men. Girls can slay their own dragons and not always have to be damsels in distress. Grace must also leave Joe at the end, which will make the next book interesting to see how their relationship plays out.
The novel encourages girls to not be afraid of stepping out of their comfort zones and doing something that is usually associated with boys. A girl’s place is not in the kitchen. A girl’s place is where her heart calls her out to explore and when she does go, there’s no limit to what she can do.