Leah's life is turned upside down when she finds her parents both murdered in their small home in Georgia. It's 1849 and many people are racing to California to make their fortune in gold.
Leah has a secret. She's able to feel when gold is near. The sense gets stronger the closer she gets to the gold. Nice ability to have, huh? When Leah's uncle comes to take her away and "use" her, she runs away. Her best friend left for California a short while ago, and she wishes she went with him but now hopes to catch up with him. She must disguise herself as a boy since it would be impossible to be a girl travelling alone. Fortunately Leah has been trained by her father to hunt, muck out the stalls, and any other work to keep their household running.
Leah (now Lee) goes through much hardship but makes some interesting friends along the way to California. Walk on Earth a Stranger never has a dull moment. The heat, cold, wet, stampedes, mountains, rivers, cholera, and danger from Indians made these people true pioneers. Many lost their lives, including some of the characters in this book. It was hard work; they were always tired and much of the time they were hungry and thirsty.
The writing just flows magically. I felt like I was along with Lee in her travels. I hated some characters so much that I wanted to throw the iPad across the room (I refrained.) The magical gold-finding ability just adds to the story but never overpowers it.
I was concerned about a cliff hanger, since this is a planned trilogy (Gold Seer Trilogy), but this episode ties up the immediate plot line. We know there's more to come, and I can't wait for the next book. I think it's probably going to be a while.
Fans of historical fiction should not miss Walk on Earth a Stranger. Don't let the magic cause you any hesitation. Fans of magical books will enjoy this one too, especially if you enjoy historical settings. I can't wait to shove this one at my teens.
Published by Greenwillow, September 22, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
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