Seton’s tale of of love, a lost city in the sky and a legend of a wall of gold.
Foxfire is set in early 1930’s depression era as slightly spoiled Amanda Lawrence meets the dark and brooding Jonathan Dartland (Dart) while returning on cruise from Europe. Despite Dart’s poor prospects as a mining engineer, sparks fly and they are married and return to Lodestar, a mining operation in the remote back country of Arizona. Unused to the rougher aspects of life, Amanda has a difficult time settling in to her new life as well as mixing in with the mining community peopled with unusual characters — from the alcoholic doctor Hugh hiding from his troubled past, the very mysterious Mrs. Cunningham, widow of the original 1880’s boom town mine owner, who never leaves her huge mansion on the hill in the adjacent ghost town and more.
When Dart’s half Apache mother dies, Amanda finds papers detailing a legend about two priests who discovered an ancient Anasazi cliff dwelling in the high country of Arizona with a glittering wall of gold in the cave behind it. Tensions between Amanda and Dart continue to grow as a miner whose scheme to murder Dart and take his job goes awry but ultimately disgraces Dart. With no career to look forward to, Hugh and Amanda convince Dart to lead them through treacherous back country to the lost city in search of the wall of gold – but Amanda and Dart eventually find a treasure in the valley much richer than gold.
Some readers might find the first half of this novel to be a bit slow paced as Seton sets up her storyline and details in the day to day life of a mining operation, but I enjoyed it very much. I have traveled quite a bit in the desert southwest and have always enjoyed taking the occasional mine tour or two and soaking in the history of those aging ghost towns. I very much enjoyed how Seton set up her scenes, especially the sights and sounds of the Sonoran Desert and the high country approaching the Mogollon (mug-e-yon) Rim. She must have spent a fair amount of time traveling through the region doing her research, I didn’t catch a single gaffe in either her descriptions of the local towns, the geography of the region and the flora and fauna. I thought I was going to catch her if she kept describing the saguaros once her characters got into the higher elevations, but she was spot on. As stated previously, I enjoyed this book very much, but probably only for die hard Seton fans (and I am one) or for those interested in mining history and legends of lost gold.