Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

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The second in the historical fantasy series by award winning Carson, sees Lee Westfall finally stopping in an area rich with gold where she can use her magic powers to seek out the rich ore and help her friends from the wagon train find gold as well. The team gradually build up a community, name their little settlement Glory and start to construct a town of sorts. Jefferson, Lee’s best friend, continues to woo her, but her Uncle Hiram is still a menace, determined to get her under his control.

Like a river glorious sees Lee's powers becoming stronger, giving the book more of an element of fantasy than the first in the series, Walk on earth a stranger. Not only can she sense gold, but she can also now draw it to her, and this ability is one that helps her out in times of danger. There is some action and adventure as Uncle Hiram sends his men after Lee, but what I found most fascinating about this book was the descriptions of life in a mining camp, the loneliness of the miners who were happy to eat Becky's poorly cooked food, the way gold was panned and the shafts built, and the treatment of the Indians and Chinese at that time.

Lee is a character I was happy to follow; she is strong and determined and very loyal to her friends. And she is also a leader, and although she is still in her teens, the group of misfits from the wagon train are happy to follow her advice and support her in her endeavours.

This is quality historical fantasy and should appeal to lovers of the historical genre as well as the fantasy one.

Themes: Adventure, Gold mining, California - History, Strong female character.

Pat Pledger