Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 31st 2017 by Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance.
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Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.
It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.
But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.
Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.
It’s safe to say there was some nervousness going into this book. In the last two installments of this series, Violet was full of anger and resentment and there was a worry that this book would drown in angst, but that was not the case. We’ve heard snippets of Violet and Chevy’s history together and Long Way Home finally confronts the tension between them as a terrifying situation with a rival motorcycle gang, the Riot, forces them to work through their differences in order to put an end to this ever looming threat.
At the heart of this story is the second chance romance between Violet and Chevy. Following her fathers death, Violet has done everything she can to distance herself from the Reign on Terror, including breaking the heart of her first love, Chevy. Chevy’s life seems to be laid out right before him. His grandfather is the head of the club and his uncle is the most respected man in it, therefore it is natural to assume that Chevy’s place is to follow in their footsteps and patch in with the Terror on his eighteenth birthday. Chevy still loves Violet but he also loves his family. However, feeling like he’s being forced to choose between the people he loves most takes it toll on Chevy and when questions of his deceased father’s relation to the Terror arises, Chevy begins to wonder if a life in the Terror is really what he wants.
Chevy was such a wonderful character. All he wants to do is keep the people in his life happy but it’s hard to do so when they’re on opposite sides of the battlefield. With both sides expecting him to choose, the pressure mounting overwhelms him as his internal conflict about his future threatens to tear him up inside. When the Riot ride into town, Chevy is caught in the crossfire and this kick starts a journey of confusion, hurt and anger. The secrets of the Terror and his father threaten to unravel everything Chevy’s believed to be true and festers doubt within himself and his future with the club. On top of that, Chevy is also completely in love with Violet. His longing to reconnect with her has been palpable from the beginning and with no one else to turn to, Violet is the one person he feels he can confide in and in doing so give hope that they can reconnect.
One of the issues that’s popped up throughout the series is the role of women within the Terror. The women in the Terror’s lives are obviously important to them but when it comes down to it, the Terror is a boys club only. Women are there to support their guys but when it comes to issues dealing with the Terror, even if it directly involves them, the guys keep the women in the dark, because it’s the club rule. Club business remains within the club. It’s easy to understand the frustration of Emily, Breanna and Violet with regards to how they’re treated by the club. They mean well but this treatment can also lead to resentment and a sense of isolation, which is part of the reason Violet separates herself from them. Violet will not stand to be second to the club. She demands to be an equal, and rightly so. What’s even more frustrating is seeing Violet voice her opinion and being ignored. Instead, she’s being told what’s right for her without them even asking what she believes is best. It can be stifling but Violet refuses to let the Reign of Terror control the way she lives her life and that attitudes means taking matters into her own hand.
With Violet and the Reign of Terror seemingly at odds, it’s easy to wonder whether or not they’d ever find a common ground. Violet’s mother has always been a loyal follower of the club and has them tending to her every need which causes a lot of tension between her and Violet. Violet refuses to let the club stifle her and her independent nature clashes with her mother’s contempt with the Terror’s continuous involvement in their lives. All Violet wants is to get her and her brother as far away from them as possible and when the Riot put her in harms way her determination is fueled, even if it means ripping apart the very foundations of the Terror.
There are a lot of relationships explored in this book. At the heart is the romance between Chevy and Violet. Both of them are sure in their love for one another but their ambitions seem to keep them apart. Throughout the course of this book we see them work towards finding a way to make their relationship last and in the process Chevy begins to take charge of his own life and Violet learns that asking for help is not a defeat or a show of weakness. Eli also plays a significant role in this book. His attempts to reconcile with Violet have been futile as of late. Both are stubborn characters but throughout this book we see them lean towards a compromise. We are also treated to a cameo by a character from McGarry’s Pushing the Limit series and it was a joy to get to check in with him.
This trilogy has been addictive. The concept of the motorcycle club was intriguing and while they have a lot of issues, especially in their views and treatment of women, it was fun to explore the dynamics within the club. If there’s one thing you can take from this setting it’s that family doesn’t end in blood. The romances were also beautifully developed in this series. Long Way Home is meant to be the last book in the series but I do hope that Addison gets her own book cause she deserves to find her happy ending.