“Walk On Earth a Stranger” (Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson (2015)
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages (hardcover edition)
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift. (synopsis from Goodreads)
After a horrific murder Leah, our main protagonist, sets for The West in order to search for gold, find new opportunities, and to escape from her past. From the very first steps of Leah’s journey, the novel gives its readers a heightened sense of adventure as you are traveling back in time through 1800s America.
Being a total sucker for anything historical, I absolutely had to pick up this book after being hooked by its synopsis. While I was reading the novel I felt like was watching an episode of Bonanza or an old western film. I love “journey” style books where a character must travel over a treacherous terrain in order to not only reach their final destination, but become a stronger person as well. And that is exactly what Leah does in this novel!
Because Leah has magical powers, I was expecting the novel to have more fantasy elements. It was a bit disappointed since there weren’t really any other recognizable fantasy elements other than Leah’s gold seeking powers. I’m hoping the author will expand more on this element in the next installment, giving the story some brand new twists.
Carson did a fantastic job of researching the Gold Rush era, and its reflected in the details of her writing. Not only is she creating this tale about this magical girl who has the power to seek out gold, but she also manages to educate her readers on the clothes, food, transportation, and events of that period. I even found myself learning some new things about the Gold Rush. It made me realize how harsh life was then and all of the hard, back-breaking work it took to travel to such long distances.
I highly recommend this novel are a fan of adventure stories with long journeys or historical fiction!