This author brings the gold rush and San Francisco to life
I actually owned this book in the 70’s (and loved it). I have no idea why I gave it away, as now I had to buy another used copy. Hope I didn’t buy my own back again!
This is a book about Kendra, who with her mother and step father came to San Francisco right before the start of the gold rush. Kendra was an unwanted child, and she soon finds the man of her dreams, marries him and they are off to the gold country. Among the group they are travelling with are Marny, the proverbial good girl gone bad, who is going to the gold camps to set up a saloon/gambling hall with her partner. All goes well at first, until a secret about Ted’s past shatter’s Kendra’s happiness. Marny and Kendra return to San Francisco and Kendra works to rebuild her life, as Marny works on building a new Calico Palace instead of the tent she had at the gold camp.
The author does a wonderful job of bringing both San Francisco and the gold country to life. I loved the touch she put in about the first steamer to arrive with real gold seekers from the east coast, and the harrowing tale of the first group to cross the isthmus. The story takes you through the muck and mud, torrential rains, fires, thievery and everything else that came about as a result of instant wealth that the gold brought. The characters were wonderful, especially Pocket (loved Pocket’s pockets).
All in all a pretty perfect read, and I’m sorry the story had to come to an end. Highly recommended for any lover of historical fiction or tales of the gold country. As a side note, for any who are interested in the gold country and it’s history, I highly recommend taking the time to visit it. So many of the original towns are still there, with much of the original buildings. Up and down Highway 49, it’s one adorable gold rush town after another.