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Like a River Glorious (Gold Seer Trilogy) Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Not as strong or as enchanting as Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in the trilogy, this follow-up has plenty of action but falls short on substantive plot. Leah Westfall, 16, has the ability to sense gold and has made it from Georgia to California seeking both safety and her fortune at the start of the Gold Rush. Her talent has also drawn the interest of her purely nefarious uncle, Hiram, who is hot on her trail. After divulging her secret to her close group of trail mates and staking claims in a prosperous spot, Leah and her half-Native American best friend (and love interest) Jefferson are kidnapped and imprisoned by Hiram and his henchman. Every character is an archetype worthy of the soap opera-style drama that ensues, including offbeat old miners, lovestruck and ever-hopeful Jefferson, a reluctant but helpful prostitute housekeeper, a stoic "bodyguard" for Leah, and the lecherous uncle who will stop at nothing, including murder and brutal Indian enslavement, to get what he wants. As Leah and her compatriots hatch a plan to escape, an Indian uprising is planned, and the stakes grow deadly for many. VERDICT Fans of the first book may enjoy the nonstop histrionics, but others can pass this by.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
“A celebration of great courage, the ability of people to come together as family, and the healing power of love. The exciting, sweet, and satisfying ending is probably only temporary, however, as the final book in the trilogy is forthcoming.” (Booklist)
“Carson’s alternate Gold Rush-era setting is fierce and brutal...The socio-politics, too, are complicated.” (Horn Book Magazine)
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After their long trek through the desert, the tragic loss of family members, and the double-cross by their team leader, the group is able to take a breather but soon finds their paradise has other dangers. Winter is fast approaching, strangers are visiting the village, an Indian tribe has been seen outside Glory, and there is always the fear Uncle Hiram will come back for Lee.
It’s sweet to see how the citizens of Glory stake their roots and begin to flourish. Becky’s bad cooking turns out to be an asset. The children learn to pan for gold. The college men are able to use their education to help establish the village. Hamilton is growing closer to his goal of freeing his wife. Lee and Jefferson grow closer. And they find a lot of gold. Of course such bliss cannot last forever and Lee is forced to make the choice between their safety and her own.
At this point the book grows very dark. Lee is exposed to the cruelty with which the white men treat the Indians and the Chinese immigrants. She sees the starvation and abuse they endure when enslaved and forced to mine. Disease is rampant. Murder and whippings are inescapable. This part of the book is violent and barbaric but not overdone or out of context for sensational impact. The author exposes what actually happened when gold fever hit California.
Now, the end of the book ties up a lot of loose threads and could almost finish as a two-part series. Lee discovers there is more to her witchy sense than just finding gold. There is a resolve between her and Jefferson. I don’t want to spoil the book by talking about other surprises that take place except that the town of Glory grows with new characters. It will be interesting to see what the author has planned. This is a captivating series so I do want to find out and will buy the final book.
I cannot say enough good things about this book, this series, and Carson's work in general.
If you like historicals, fantasy, or YA heroines who make complicated choices, then this is an author for you to fall in love with.
I didn't think I would be so attached to the little band of misfit characters who travelled from Independence, MO all the way to California, but there are moments that are heart warming and others that will absolutely break your heart. The romance between Lee and Jefferson feels like a slow burn, but it's been developing ever since Walk on Earth a Stranger and I'm glad to see how everything turns out. We're introduced to some new characters, as well as seeing Frank Dilley and the rest of the Missouri men again.
I was especially interested in how this book would handle the story of the Chinese and Indians who lived in California during the Gold Rush. The book didn't skirt around showing the brutality and how wrong the situation was in how they were treated in the American fervor to find gold.
There's no real cliffhanger at the end, so Like a River Glorious gives a nice, satisfying ending. This has been a lovely read from start to finish, and I'm curious to see what happens to Lee, Jefferson, and the rest of her friends in book three.
*Note: A HUGE thank you to EpicReads for giving me an ARC of this book!*
Leah continues to embolden and tug at the heartstrings. She’s so gutsy and determined, I want to hug her through the pages. She also manages to keep a level head as she finally acknowledges her feelings for Jefferson. Their romance is the kind I enjoy most: a wonderful slow burn, based on trust, friendship, and teamwork. And gosh do I still love Carson’s “voice” for Leah. I could almost hear a 16-year-old girl from that time period with a Southern accent narrating the book to me as I read it.
If I had to give one reason why I can’t rate LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS as high as WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER, it would be Leah’s uncle Hiram. What a deplorable man. Between his obsession over Leah’s mother and his erratic behavior toward Leah (sometimes abusive, other times sickeningly friendly), he’s too disturbing to deserve a reader’s sympathy. His comeuppance at the end of the book is perfect, though. I hope this opens the road to more well-rounded antagonists for Book #3 – and I already have a feeling of what direction said sequel will take. Either way, I still adore this YA fantasy western series as a whole, and I can’t wait to see how Rae Carson concludes it next year.