Walk on Earth a Stranger, Rae Carson
Here's the review submitted by a pal who read this book as soon as she snagged it:
This is one of the rare books that passed my
Rarely does a book engage me like this one did. A third of the way through it I read the last chapter to assure myself it ends well for the heroine. I didn't understand everything that happened in that last chapter, and I wanted to know who the people in it were so I read more of the book. I probably read the last chapter four or five times as I read further in the book and was introduced to more of the characters. Usually when I skip to the last chapter I find I don't care what happens in between.
Ms Carson's story is strong historical fiction with a slight twist: the heroine. Leah/Lee Westfall, has one special trait that makes her unique and puts her in peril from the one person, other than her parents, that knows she has it. Growing up in a gold-rich part of Georgia (there really was a gold rush to the southern state), she was well prepared to go west when news of gold in California reached her hometown. At least she was prepared for finding gold and hunting for food (she's a crack shot).
Her best friend, and secret love, wants to join the Gold Rush. Circumstances change suddenly and they both leave home, separately, hoping to meet up in Independence, Missouri. The book records her journey, both geographically and socially. The various people she meets on the trip are each interesting and singular, and reading about them is well worth the time.
It is clear the author has done her research. I liked the way Leah's journey didn't start in Missouri, like most western trek books do. I loved the trip downriver on the flatboat and the description of the Mississippi River made me nostalgic (I'm from near St. Louis).
According to the jacket, this book is the first in a trilogy that Amazon says is called the "Gold Seer Trilogy." The series name is misleading as Leah does not "see" gold. She couldn't do the things she does in this book if she only "saw" it.
Another quibble. The cover art is wrong. Leah would never wear a dress cut so low. Neither would any other woman in this book.
I'm going to add Ms Carson to my Amazon watch list because I am interested in the sequel. I've also ordered her book The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I'll post a review if the PALS let me.