Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.
I’ve seen this book around in the blog community but I recently put it on my TBR after reading a great review by Larkin @Wonderfilled Reads. Take a look at her review here! I really enjoyed Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy and I felt confident I would enjoy her writing in this book as well. Why did I take so long to pick it up? I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction and this honestly just wasn’t a book I was itching to read. It did start out slow and I will admit I was still skeptical about 20% into the book. However, after I finished it I realized that I really really enjoyed this story! While I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction I was intrigued by the bit of magic with Leah’s gold-sensing abilities. The story ended up being more historical fiction with less magic or fantasy than I expected, but I was actually very okay with that. I hadn’t realized how attached I got to all of the characters until I finished the book and thought about how much I wanted to read the second book. It was really good, and if you are willing to give it a chance, I definitely recommend it! Also, the cover is one of the more beautiful covers I’ve seen lately, so that certainly doesn’t hurt 😉
Leah Westfall, or Lee for short, lives in a small town with her parents. She doesn’t have any brothers so she has worked hard to make her parents proud. Leah also has a secret, she can sense gold. In Gold Rush-era America, this is obviously a useful skill. She keeps it quiet because she doesn’t want people to see it as witchcraft or take advantage of her. The origin of this gift is not touched upon, but I do hope we learn more about it in future books.
After a series of tragic events leaves Leah alone, she finds herself making the decision to run away to California. Away from her town and from those who want to hurt and use her. She is also following her best friend Jefferson, who has already left for California but promised to wait for her. She escapes as a boy, partly to fit in and partly to disguise herself from those who will follow her.
While it was a slow start, things started to pick up once Leah joins the wagon train. We get introduced to some of my favorite character in the story! This book wasn’t necessarily action-packed, although it did have its exciting moments. Towards the end of the book, I desperately wanted all of them to reach California unharmed and in one piece. This story is very character driven and while Leah’s development was great, this book also has a lot of great secondary characters including Jefferson, Jasper, Mrs. Joyner, Theresa and more. Leah though, was wonderful. She was strong and determined, but also very human. While she is strong and talented, she would also have moments when I realized that she is just a girl who misses her family and doesn’t want to be alone. There is also the added element of her magic gold-seeking ability, which often causes her to feel more alone because she doesn’t know who to trust. I loved this subtle magical detail of the story and hope we see more of it in the next two books.
Overall, this was a great read and I am pleasantly supposed to say that I am looking forward for the second book. Whether or not you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a great book and as I mentioned above, I grew very attached to the characters. You should definitely give it a chance if you are interested!