New novel reveals stories about avengence on sexual abuse

Novel by Colleen Oakes reveals stories of sexual abuse and a group that takes revenge.

“The Black Coats” is a novel written by Colleen Oakes, published earlier in February of this year, listed in the young adult fiction category. 

Before reading it is important to know, though no real descriptions are given of the acts, there is mention of sexual abuse in this story and caution is given to those who would be uncomfortable with such subjects. 

The story begins with a rather grim turn of events that will send the reader through a whirlwind of questions, meeting a room of empty answers. It is then up to the reader, as well as the main character, Thea Soloman, to fill in the blanks. 

After the murder of her cousin, Natalie, Thea has been facing nothing but grief, counselors and the never-ending strike of fear that goes through her every time she sees a white pickup truck. This all changes the day she is greeted with a black envelope holding instructions that change her life forever. 

After facing a test, she is invited to join a group of strong women with justice to administer across their state in Texas, the Black Coats. Thea is thrown into a new world of powerful women teaching others to become powerful themselves. Along the way she meets other young ladies in need of help and a way to seek out their justice. They must realize that only working together can they set things right between themselves and others abusers.

“It’s a shame, she thought as she made her way through the turnstiles and into the packed bleachers, that sometimes even the strongest women are not strong enough to endure the wickedness of the average men.”

Thea and her team of empowered young ladies are filled with accomplishment every time they finish bringing the assigned men to justice in one way or another. As they grow stronger as a group there seems to be nothing standing in their way, the thrill of justice being served to the guilty parties, leaving no stone unturned until they meet their fate foreseen by the older, more experienced leaders of the Black Coats. 

But what will happen when Thea realizes that administering “justice,” even if the perpetrators prove to be guilty, on their own accords could be doing more harm than good? 

“The Black Coats,” with 376 pages, is a powerful piece of writing that brings attention to the importance of feminists as well as women’s rights and other subjects pertaining to the struggles, fears and consequences of being a woman in this world where others are taught, both intentionally and not, to tear them down.


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