Now that is the kind of cover I’d be ashamed to take on the airplane!!
This book continues the story of the Morrison, McKay and Gentry family begun in Magnificent Dream. Gold has been discovered at Sutter’s fort and the Gentry twins take different paths towards obtaining their fortunes – Cameron wheels and deals in burgeoning San Francisco as Robin heads for the hills with dreams of a big strike. Mormon Sam Brannan continues to amass great wealth as he has his fingers in every pie in California, but he also ignites the ire of Brigham Young and the LDS church. Susannah’s embittered brother Landry finally leaves New York bent on revenge against his father and former wife, as does her step-brother Asa who is now a member of the Danite sect of the LDS church (oooh, he’s a baddie).
That’s really all I can put into words on what the story is about – I don’t write book reports. I did find this a bit of a let-down from the first book, there was an awful lot of telling instead of showing as Day recounted California’s history and at times I felt like I was on the outside looking in – even the horrors of the fires were mostly recounted second hand – I want to be there. That said, seeing a lot of California’s growth from the point of view of Sam Brannan and his involvement with the Mormons was interesting, as well as the author’s insights into the workings and mindset of the LDS Church (it appears she knows what she’s talking about).
There was a tad bit more sex in the first parts of this book than the prior one, but still quite tame compared to today’s standards. I thought the freedom Susannah and Fiona were allowed a tad bit unrealistic, especially Susannah openly living with Cameron prior to being married and no one (not even her strict Mormon papa) raised an eyebrow?? Tollie being allowed to leave Ezra’s home at will and run around to saloons with Sam Brannan?? In the end this is a good book but not a great one – and despite that very cheesy cover I doubt a mainstream romance reader would enjoy this. It really is more history than romance, plus if you have to have a picture perfect HEA this is most definitely not the book for you.
For those interested in a really well told tale of old San Francisco and the Gold Rush I highly recommend Gwen Bristow’s Calico Palace.