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Calico Palace (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – November 1, 2009


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Calico Palace (Rediscovered Classics) + Jubilee Trail (Rediscovered Classics) + Celia Garth (Rediscovered Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gwen Bristow (1903–1980) wrote a number of bestselling historical novels, including This Side of Glory, Tomorrow Is Forever, Jubilee Trail, Celia Garth, and Golden Dreams.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Unabridged edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556529848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556529849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Good story and character development.
Phyllis Henley
Great Book about the California Gold Rush and the beginning of San Francisco.
Tammy L. Roberts
Each time I read this book, I come away with something new - but familiar.
J. Cantrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Misfit VINE VOICE on June 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Cantrell on April 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Each time I read this book, I come away with something new - but familiar. It is like a visit to old friends. I am familiar with Kendra, Marney, Pockets and the rest of the characters, and I always wish I could read more about them. This is one of those books that causes you to read the final chapter slowly - even though you want to see how it ends - just to savor it. The assortment of characters is delightful - the descriptions of the locations will have you knowing what it was like to "be there" - and the story is full of twists and turns, which keeps you turning the pages. It would make a great movie!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Pavlick on April 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read "Calico Palace" at least a dozen times over the last 20 years and I enjoy it as much or more every time. I always get some new life lesson out of it as I grow and change, and it is always an entertaining read! I consider it the best book I have ever read, and I have read thousands of books. The historical information woven throughout the fictional tale is fascinating, and Ms. Bristow always finds a way to tell of even the most horrific events without depressing the reader in the least. What a great story! I plan to read it at least a dozen more times!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Gibson on July 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is one of my all time favorite books. I've read it and reread it, and every time, it pulls me in. I'm always surprised to find myself warm and dry, instead of panning for gold, or caught in a mudslide. It is a wonderful historical novel set among the first settlers of California. It has everything... history, love, adventure, drama! It is written in a way that you wish that you could step through the cover and actually visit the Calico Palace, and meet face to face with Pocket, Hiram, Kendra, and Marny.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SW Book Worm on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Calico Palace, by Gwen Bristow, is a rich, rollicking historical novel set in the early days of the Califormia Gold Rush and the formation of the city of San Francisco. There is accurate historical detail throughout the novel, yet it is skillfully woven into the story line in such a way that it is never plodding or boring. The characters are fully developed and inspire empathy and respect. A very entertaining read for lovers of historical romance!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JJ on August 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sort of a rehash of the much superior Jubilee Trail written in 1950. Reads like someone trying to do a story like Jubilee Trail but not quite able to do it. Like Trail is the Original Diamond and this is the Paste Replica. It's o.k. but if you've read Jubilee Trail, you'll be disappointed in this book. It's Flat. The characters are not well drawn, not fleshed out. There is way too much about fires in San Francisco and what was destroyed. The last part of the book is just that over and over and over again. I know it happened but it was like she was trying to just fill up the pages. I would like to have had more about the vigilantes but this was only included briefly at the end of the book. I don't know if Ms Bristow was just getting older and bored with writing but this book is no where near the excellence of Jubilee Trail which I consider to be one of the best books I've ever read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like many others, I have read this book at least a dozen times (and maybe more) over the past 30 years! I loved the book and the characters created by Ms. Bristow so much that my eldest daughter is named after two of the main players - 'Loren Kendra' - my wife has read the book, my friends have read the book - and now my daughter is reading the story that is in a very real way responsible for her name.
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