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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  74 reviews
"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

In this novel told through journal entries, interviews, and newspaper columns, uncover the hidden history of America's first and only all-female gang in the American West
Kindle Edition
Published October 2nd 2018 by Redhook
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  201 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Redhook for allowing me to read and review this book. Published October 2, 2018.

What a great old west novel. Based on true fact this fictional story is told in 3 part. Three women involved in the Parker Gang narrate this book. Foremost is Henrietta Lee, a 92 year old former slave and the only person left alive to tell the story. Also narrating is Grace Trumbull, a former Pinkerton and budding travel writer, along with Margaret Parker, leader, and former Duchess a
Taryn Pierson
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-release, fiction
Finally, a Western that centers women throughout--and not just one woman, but a whole gang of them, tough and imperfect and rebellious and loyal and just gosh-dang realistic. Former slave Hattie LaCour and widowed white woman Margaret Parker are partners in crime--they and their gang of mostly female outlaws rob banks, stagecoaches, and mining offices, and they never get caught because no one believes women capable of their exploits. Lenhardt tells their story through artifacts like newspaper co ...more
Melissa Lenhardt
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Author here. I love this book and can’t wait to share it with you on 10/2/18.
Karen Kay
I received this from in exchange for a review.

Margaret (Garet) Parker and Hattie LaCour were an unlikely pair. Garet was a Duchess from Somerset England and Hattie was a slave. With their small makeshift family, their all female gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.

Great heroic story of truly strong, brave women trying to survive and live in a male dominated world. This western story runs along the lines of Larry McMurtry and Louis L'Amour except this book
I don’t believe I have ever read a western featuring a gang of outlaws that just happened to be women. Heresy is exactly that and the story captured my interest from the very beginning.

Written in journal style and giving the personal accounts of three different women involved, the story follows the years during which a gang of women robbed banks and stagecoaches and never got the credit, due to the fact that no one believed women were capable of such a thing.

Even though the book is
I keep trying to read this book and I keep failing.

I want to love it and, on its surface, it has everything I should love. But I simply can't do it.

For me, it's a combination of the characters (specifically their different voices) and the storytelling style that just don't work for me.

I think that other readers will love it.

But I've tried 4 times now and I'm giving up.
Leslie Lutz
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I got this as an advance reader copy, and it's a beautifully written story. I've read some of Lenhardt's other books and loved them. The author tells the story through interviews, newspaper articles, and journal entries. Very gritty, very real. I especially liked Hattie's voice.
Jenny Martin
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heresy is’s the thrilling, whip smart western we’ve been waiting for. I’ve always been a Melissa Lenhardt fan, but this one cements her legacy as a master of the genre.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
IT IS AMAZING IN IT'S SELF TO WRITE A BOOK THAT GIVES READERS AN ESCAPE FROM REALITY!! Lenhardt is an author with unbelievable talent in the piercing together of data extracted from different sources into a easy narrative. This is the story of the hardships of women with intelligence trying to win over the persecution of men in the west. Successful rancher and horse trainer Margaret Parker is forced from her home and is left with the intellect to pull off her revenge by becoming an outlaw. Was n ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book weaves fiction and historical facts/documents to tell the story of the first and only female gang in the American West, the Parker's Gang. These women are fierce, complex and resilient, and their stories are a testament to the struggle women had and continue to have to be treated with dignity and respect, as equals. This book not only addresses the issue of gender equality and oppression, but also the intersection between race and gender through the story of Hattie (and Ruby), sexual o ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
I really loved this book. I have always loved westerns but I can only read so many white male centered stories before growing bored. This book was all western and yet totally different. It was great and while varied narrations aren’t always my thing it worked well here for me.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic western brought to live with modern form and deep, rich characters. I enjoyed everything about this book from the conceit, the characters, the use of emotion, and enough action and shoot outs to keep the most adrenaline driven ready happy. Would recommend it to anyone who enjoys westerns or an adventure novel with strong characters with both plot-based and emotional pay-off.
I'm calling it quits at 10% - a massive disappointment considering how much I enjoyed Sawbones (and the next two books in that trilogy to varying degrees). The writing here is just lazy. There's no nice way to say it - lazy. It's told to the reader, primarily through a WPA interview in the 1930s and the gang leader's journal entries. T-O-L-D. I felt no connection to any of the characters. There's no sense of place. Why? Because the author is choosing to tell the story instead of showing it to th ...more
Stacey Kuhnz
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the privilege to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of Melissa Lenhardt’s newest #feministwestern historical, HERESY. A beautifully crafted, rich story told from two head strong, courageous women that leap from the page. Lenhardt is in her element bringing the reader deep into a different time, showing us a world ignored by the history books! It was so much fun telling my young daughters about the “cowgirl” book I couldn’t to put down, and is the exact reason stories like HERESY need to be to ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am sorry but this is not my kind of book. I do not enjoy reading abou cowboys and thieves who kill people just for the fun of it.

I have never liked to read books about the old west. I was hoping that this book would be different because it was about women who robbed the stage coaches.

Sorry I could not give you a better review but I will recommend it to my male friends who enjoy books like this. My neighbor, Steve will like it. He reads only non fiction and I will let hi
Theresa Smith
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“I didn’t think of men as individuals, but as a toxic hole whose only goal was to protect their power by keeping women down, subservient.”

The last time I read a western would have been The Quick and the Dead. They’ve never really factored high on my want to read list, and I have zero interest in western romances. But there was a bit of a run on western movies in the 90s and I used to enjoy them a lot. Heresy has all the elements needed to bring a western back onto the big screen. I t
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, wndb
Now, this is one Western that I can get behind 100%. A fictional tale based on true fact, Heresy is centered around a gang of badass women outlaws who live by their own rules in an era where this is essentially unheard of. Not only that, but the gang is comprised of not only white women, but also a Black former slave, a transgender woman, and lesbians, among others. A group forged long before their time, this gang is more family than bad guys, more Robin Hood than outllaw.
Lenhardt tells the wom
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book and a very good story. The author did a great job creating likable outlaws who happened to be female. I also learned quite a bit of history from this book that I'd never known or learned about in school. The author, Melissa Lenhardt, must have really done her research it's a treasure trove of information. The main character Margaret Parker is the head of the outlaw gang of women and her role in this book is outstanding. You'll instantly like and even respect her. I know she's an o ...more
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Here we are, back at the beginning! I had heard great things about this book--it's a Western about an all-female gang of outlaws, and should have been right up my alley. I had issues getting past the framing device, though (it's presented as a series of documents collected by a historian, but the likelihood of TWO characters writing journals in such a literary way, complete with dialogue, strains belief), and found it to be a little bit slow. I did like the main characters a lot, and th
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

I had no idea the missing subgenre in my reading life would be a feminist western. This was a fantastic read, about a group of women who come together and become Outlaws. It shows how women are the forgotten ones in history and it’s time for that to change. And just as importantly, this book was just plain fun reading.
Full review coming soon to, then reposted at GR. Even though I wasn't completely enamored by some of the techniques used in this story, I can't say enough good things about the author's talent at writing westerns. She engages me completely.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A feminist western, in epistolary format? YES, PLEASE. So great, very inclusive, emotional and surprising. All the stars.
my husband and i do not read similar books, like at all. even what we would consider our favorites in classic literature varies greatly. and we're both former english majors with degrees in publishing. reading heresy, i thought this is one book he would really like. and lest you think that because he would like it i would not, i'm here to tell you that isn't true.

i don't know if the political climate that is so toxic to women made this read feel so empowering, but it certainly helped
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am the lucky recipient of a Kindle giveaway with this book. Firstly, not the type of book I often read; being not so much a "Western" fan. However, I was instantly caught up in this story of post Civil War female outlaws in Colorado. What fun! This gang is a mixture of all the true, documented women who rustled cattle, robbed stagecoaches and banks, played poker, were sometime prostitutes, and generally led a pretty wild life. And some inkling of a legendary character known as Jane Kirkham who ...more
Sharon Shakeshaft
This is a fabulous book that tells the story of the Parker gang who rode in the American west in the 1870s . Led by an English lady , Magaret Parker originally from Somerset England, and a female ex slave and buffalo soldier, Hattie Lee, its hard to believe this is a true story and its been hidden for over 140 years.

I couldnt put this book down, its easy to read and become involved in this story of a female gang. This would make a brilliant movie, as all stories of the American west focus on me
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very rarely give books 5 stars, but I *thoroughly* enjoyed this one. Each of the characters in Margaret Parker’s gang and world are so vividly depicted, I felt like I knew them. As the end of the book approached, I got further and further drawn in to their world and it was hard to let them go.

With the recent renaissance of western tv series and movies (another Kevin Costner vehicle? Seriously?), “Heresy” is a refreshing female-centric tale that combines the best of the genre — no skimping on
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must have read thousands of books in my life, but I can't remember ever reading a western. This book, Hersey, sounded like a fun, Me Too movement in the old west story.
Margaret Parker is married to an English Lord and together they run a horse ranch in Colorado after the Civil War. When her husband becomes ill, Margaret takes over the ranch and discovers she is better at running the business than her husband ever was. After his death she expands the business making her neighbor, and competi
I loved this book!

At the ripe old age of 92, Hattie, one half of the Parker - LeCour female outlaw gang sits with Grace Williams to get their story on paper. Told through these interviews, Garet Parkers journals, Claire's case files, journal entries and newspaper articles, the story of the Parker gang is told.

Based on the true story of the Parker gang, Lenhardt weaves an incredible story filled with rich characters and descriptions. Although some characters (Grace, Salter
Temple Dog
Melissa Lenhardt’s Heresy is Rashomon meet’s Jane’s Got a Gun. If you are a fan of Kurosawa’s Rashomon, arguably his best film, you’ll relish Heresy. It tells the story of a band of female horse wranglers who become bank robbers after their ranch is usurped by a corrupt colonel.

The story is told from the perspective of our three protagonist, Margaret Parker, known as the Duchess or Garet because of her marriage to a British duke, Hattie, a former slave with a storied past and a quick
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across Heresy by chance. There are so few westerns with female leads - even less so with multiple! Being a 24 year old queer woman, the idea of delving into some of the old westerns taking up space in my grandfather's closet was daunting. There are few things in those books that appeal to me. This book seemed to have everything I could ever want in a western, and boy was I right.

Just finished reading it about 15 minutes ago and all I can say is... WOW! I haven't read a book so
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Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. 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. The New York Times cal ...more
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