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The Silver Baron's Wife Paperback – September 15, 2016
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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: In this eloquent novel, Stein portrays the independent, eccentric, and resilient woman known as Baby Doe, a legendary figure from Colorado's silver boom. Elizabeth "Lizzie" McCourt Doe is a renowned beauty who moved from Wisconsin to Colorado in the 1870s so that her husband, Harvey Doe, could work in the silver mine that they partially owned. Confronted with his addictions and womanizing, Lizzie divorces Harvey. He heads home to Wisconsin, but she stays in Colorado out of shame and embarrassment. What later begins as an affair with Horace Tabor, a married silver magnate 30 years her senior, eventually turns into a loving marriage with two daughters. Though they are tremendously wealthy, the couple is shunned socially, and a financial crisis soon wipes out their fortune. As Lizzie's problems mount, she becomes reclusive, living alone in a cabin with her visions--holy images and complex dreams from her past, revealed to readers in a lyrical, meditative voice. Stein's blend of love story, scandal, and mystical experience is satisfying and entertaining.
From the Back Cover
Donna Baier Stein paints a heartfelt, poignant picture filled with loving details of Baby Doe's celebrated life that lingers long after the last page is turned.--Ann Parker, THE SILVER RUSH MYSTERY SERIES
Explosive, gripping andromantic... An absorbing read about a fiercely independent woman who charted her own course only to find herself paying the price.--Talia Carner, HOTEL MOSCOW
With sumptuous, tactile prose, rich historical detail, and an evocative recreation of the American West, The Silver Baron's Wife excavates the legend of Elizabeth McCourt Tabor to expose a character's humanity and soul.--Diane Bonavist, THE CATHARS
...a beautiful and absorbing novel, rich in history and vivid period detail...This is a moving and memorable book.--Ronna Wineberg, SEVEN FACTS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
- Publisher : Serving House Books (September 15, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0997101067
- ISBN-13 : 978-0997101065
- Item Weight : 11.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.51 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #713,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This is the story of Baby Doe Tabor (Elizabeth McCourt Tabor) who lived from 1854 to 1935. She was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, then moved to Colorado after her first marriage. Her father-in-law gave her and her husband, Harvey Doe, a quarter share of a Colorado mine named the Fourth of July. When she first saw the mine, Lizzy fell in love with mining - “Dropping down into the Fourth of July had, like tasting the communion wafer on my tongue, opened me to a new understanding. If I'd felt betrayed after my confirmation, when Jesus let the fire take everything my family and I owned, a new confidence came over me after my descent into the mine. I was more than ready to believe there were treasures we couldn't see that were ready to be shared.”
Baby Doe was not a popular woman in the area where she lived, because she made some life decisions that were not acceptable at that time. However, Donna Baier Stein decided to write this novel from Baby Doe's point of view and the woman comes off as a strong and sympathetic character. I don't want to include any spoilers in here, yet I do have to say this is a rags to riches story, but doesn't stop there. Stein has created a wonderful character in Baby Doe, someone I will think about for a long time. She also created a wonderful picture of life in a mid-west mining town during the late nineteenth century.
Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul
Multiple theories surround Elizabeth “Lizzie” Doe Tabor’s life, many of them harsh in their interpretation of her intentions. "The Silver Baron’s Wife" brings the reader right alongside Lizzie and into her mind throughout every step of her complicated and troubled life, which makes it difficult for the reader not to empathize with her. “I loved the fact that whatever worries I had . . . vanished as soon as I’d sunk below ground level. It was another world down there, magically distant from daily woes.” The author emphasizes that her interpretation is fictional, yet the sensory details on every page are so perfectly interwoven into the narrative that every scene is believable. I felt the excitement, the apprehension, the grief and the longing in the main character as she approached and experienced each new challenge.
Donna Baier Stein’s portrayal of the rough-and-tumble male world into which Lizzie immerses herself is vividly exciting. You don’t need to be a woman or a history lover to appreciate this rage-to-riches-to-rags-again story. After hesitantly reading the first page, I gladly became Lizzie’s companion until the very last poignant page, whereupon I returned to page one and felt tremendous satisfaction at having spent my time in her lifetime.
Author: Donna Baier Stein
Publisher: Serving House Books
206 pages, $3.99 Kindle, $14.95 Paperback
Award-winning literary novelist Donna Baier Stein has just published a moving and powerful portrait of a controversial and memorable character well known here in Leadville, Colorado but little known at lesser altitudes, “Baby Doe” Tabor, the second wife of Horace Tabor, the 1880s Silver King who left his name on many local landmarks.
Baier Stein brings respect and restraint to this story of a scandalous love affair, keeping her story firmly rooted in a real woman’s battle to live her life on her own terms. In a time when women were expected to keep house and tolerate their men’s misdeeds, Elizabeth McCourt (Doe) Tabor boldly divorced a philandering, drug-addicted husband and sought her fortune in the booming mining town of Leadville. There she met and won the heart and hand of wealthy Horace Tabor, who divorced his wife Augusta for the beautiful young Lizzie. Baier Stein keeps her focus on Lizzie’s choices and actions, brilliantly illuminating her character as a woman of strength and courage. In Baier Stein’s telling, Lizzie truly loved her Horace, raising her two daughters with him after his financial ruin until his death. After his passing, while still a young woman left penniless with two daughters to support, she carried on as best she could to meet his last request, a plea to attempt to revive the Matchless Mine.
To Leadville locals, surrounded on every side by buildings still bearing the Tabor name and tourist picture postcards of the beautiful young Baby Doe, the dashing Horace Tabor and the stern-faced Augusta Tabor, the broad outlines of this story are familiar territory. What I found most moving and engaging in Baier Stein’s account was Lizzie’s inner experience of these familiar events. Her distress, for example, as an earnest and devout young Catholic, at contemplating divorce. Her visions and dreams, which she carefully recorded and pondered, looking for divine instruction and guidance. Her courage in seeking work in a man’s world, refusing the only readily available work for women in Leadville—prostitution. Far from the gold-digger of popular imagination, this Lizzie was a woman of constancy and spiritual depth, a devoted if disappointed mother and a true partner and lover to her Horace.
This is a work of fiction, and so Baier Stein’s Lizzie is a fictional Lizzie, but an authentic and believable one well-rooted in her time and circumstances. The author clearly researched her subject and the period deeply and rigorously, and drew much from Baby Doe’s own journals and letters, as well as the often lurid newspaper accounts of the time. As a reader who loves historical fiction, history and biography, I greatly admire the author’s skill in creating a vivid and memorable character while honoring the historical record and the oral traditions surrounding Baby Doe that still echo around town.
Recommendation: I wholeheartedly recommend this beautifully written book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially set in the Wild West, biography or well-written biographical fiction. Whether you know the story of Baby Doe, or if you have never heard of her, you will enjoy this engaging and moving story of a brave and tragic woman who met life on her own terms no matter the cost.