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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Review: West From the Cradle

West from the Cradle
by Brigid Amos


GENRE: YA Historical Fiction



Travis Cooper was not meant to be a prospector. Small for his age, he has never been much help on the family farm in Missouri. How could he survive the journey west to take up such backbreaking work? But when he sees a copy of the California Star in the fall of 1848, everything changes. One shining word jumps off the page: GOLD! Now staying alive is a struggle. Keeping his partner from getting himself killed is even harder!



Travis paid for the nails and was almost out the door when Hillerman called to him and beckoned for him to come back to the counter. “Come here a second, son. I want to show you something.” Reaching down behind the counter, the shopkeeper pulled out a stack of newspapers. “Melvin Ellerbee brought me these newspapers from St. Joe. It’s this one I wanted you to see.” Hillerman handed Travis the newspaper on the top of the stack.

“California Star,” Travis murmured. “This newspaper’s from California?”

“It’s from San Francisco to be precise. That newspaper was sent out this way by the editor, a Mr. Brannan of San Francisco, to recruit new American Californians. Clever fellow, that Brannan. What I wanted you to see was this article by Victor something or other. His name’s French I guess. Here, look!” Hillerman pointed to an article on the front page.

As Travis skimmed the article, one shining word jumped right off the page. “Gold?” he asked, looking up at the shopkeeper for confirmation.

“Gold!” Hillerman said. “They found gold in the American River. I figure there’s more where that came from, and there must be plenty of other rivers and streams out there that have it in them.”

“Those folks are lucky, aren’t they? I’d call that being in the right place at the right time.”

“They’re lucky all right. But so will be those who emigrate out there this spring. It sounds like there’s plenty to go around.”

Travis put the newspaper down and searched Hillerman’s face. “Is that what you’re thinking of doing? Going out there to California?”

My Review:
Brigid Amos struck gold herself when she wrote this novel of the California gold rush. West From the Cradle is a YA book, but adults would also enjoy it. The book is the story of a great adventure. Young Travis, an undersized boy who can't even pull his own weight on the farm, ends up on the California gold fields where he faces illness, bad guys, hunger, and the weaknesses of his partner. There are lots of authentic details in the story. Ms. Amos even included a few Indians and their customs. The book is interesting from start to finish, and if you're looking for a fresh read with something to offer besides fluff this one is for you. 5 stars


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. Her first novel, A Fence Around Her, was published by Clean Reads in 2016. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the boards of Angels Theatre Company and Women Writing the West. She is also an active member the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.

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Brigid Amos will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Bea LaRocca said...

Good morning. I always like to ask my fellow authors this question: Can you read or write when it's noisy or do you need peace and quiet to focus as I do myself?

Brigid Amos said...

Thank you for hosting West from the Cradle! So excited about this review!

Brigid Amos said...

Thank you Lisa Brown and Bea LaRocca for stopping by! Bea, in response to your question, I call myself a cafe writer in that I seem to need background chatter to write. My mind seems to wander more when I try to write in silence. I have often wondered though if I should train myself to do that, if perhaps I would write differently in silence. I actually consider myself a contemplative, so it seems that silence would be conducive to better writing. I suspect that I need the background chatter because I spent so many years in an open classroom, which was all the rage back then. I remember being in a traditional classroom years later in high school, taking a math exam, and all the other students started complaining about the noise from the classroom next door. Believe it or not, I hadn't even heard it until they complained about it!

Victoria Alexander said...

Great review! :)

Bea LaRocca said...

In response to your response Brigid, that is so interesting. I am the total opposite, Any type of noise distracts me from my train of thought. I find myself listening and not thinking even if I don't want to listen. I have actually gone back over something that I'd written and found that I'd typed in snippets of conversation that I'd heard or lyrics from a song that was playing instead of the prose that I was trying to put down. Now I usually run my fan on high for the white noise effect. This drowns out whatever background noise and helps me to focus. Thanks so much for responding to my query. Have a great weekend.

Gwendolyn Jordan said...

Sounds great