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The Shinnery: A Novel

"...the whole book is as genuine as a Texas sunset.” 
Nancy Turner, author of Light Changes Everything"

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"Historical fiction fans will be delighted."

Publishers Weekly

Longlisted for the 2023 Reading the West Book Awards for Debut Fiction

Reading the West


The Shinnery:
A Novel

Inspired by an actual nineteenth-century honor killing in Stonewall County, Texas, The Shinnery, an engagingly written novel, traces a young woman's betrayal by family and employers, and her path toward revenge and redemption. 


Seventeen-year-old Jessa Campbell thrives on the Shinnery, her family's homestead in 1890s Texas, bordered by acres of shin oaks on the rolling plains. Without explanation her father sends her away to settle a family debt. A better judge of cattle than of men, Jessa becomes entangled with a bad one. Everything unravels after she puts her trust in Will Keyes. When Jessa returns home to the Shinnery, pregnant and alone, her father goes on a mission of frontier justice, with devastating consequences. In the aftermath Jessa fights for her claim to the family farm and for a life of independence for herself and her sisters. 

A story of coming-of-age, betrayal, and revenge, The Shinnery is inspired by the author's family history and a trial that shook the region.

“Kate Anger’s gripping, timely novel drew me in from the first page and held me captive until the last. This powerful, courageous Texas frontier story about lost innocence, brutal betrayal, revenge, and redemption is beautifully told with nuanced sensitivity and compassion. The Shinnery is historical fiction at its best.”

—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Glovemaker


Kate Anger is a fiction writer, playwright, and non-fiction essayist. If there is anything linking her work, it is a preoccupation with the West and stories of women eager to carve their own identities in spite of the limitations placed on them. The Shinnery is her debut novel.

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Do you belong to a book club? Check out my Reader's Guide. 

I love to meet with book clubs, local history groups, writing groups, students, and curious humans of all stripes. Reach out via, or on Instagram @kate.anger.

My Books

selected writings

“Command of his Pistol” (Non-fiction, deals with suicide)


"Signs Frank Missed"

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