Monday, April 9, 2012
Book Review: Gold Under Ice
Carol Buchanan’s Gold Under Ice, set in the 1860's, draws the reader into the lives of Dan Stark, Martha, the woman he loves, and her children. Daniel and Martha have entered into a common-law marriage, not knowing where her missing, abusive husband is, or whether he is still alive.
Dan has come to the wilds of Montana Territory to work the gold mines in order to help his New York family, his widowed mother and his siblings, recover from a devastating and humiliating financial setback. A lawyer, he leaves his New York practice, but finds his knowledge of the law an asset in Alder Gulch, a rough, lawless town with few comforts. Life is hard, not only contending with harsh weather, but dealing with the insanity of gold fever.
Dan’s autocratic grandfather dictates Dan must return to New York with his accumulated gold and resume the family law practice. He hasn’t enough gold to both repay the bank and reinstate his New York family’s financial situation. Dan is torn between his New York family who is relying on him, and his Alder Gulch family and their safety in his absence. He promises to return to Alder Gulch, but they all know any number of things could prevent that from happening.
In order to secure his own future, he returns to New York, a trip that takes several weeks by stage coach and train, carrying the gold he has accumulated.
On the surface, the difference between Montana Territory and New York in the 1860's is stark. Dan is determined to retain custody of his gold, denying the bank control of it. Instead, he meets with an old friend who tutors him in the ways of Wall Street and gold trading. He finds life in New York as threatening as in the wilds of Montana Territory and fights for his life on many levels.
Gold Under Ice, available both in print and ebook format, is a compelling novel. Buchanan’s impeccable research not only entertains, but educates. Her characters breathe life into the story as it carries the reader along with Dan’s compelling need to make things right for both families. It kept me pressing the “page turn” on my Kindle long into the night.
Gold Under Ice is a sequel to God’s Thunderbolt:The Vigilantes of Montana, winner of Western Writers of America’s SPUR award. Each book is a satisfying read and stands alone. Recently released, The Devil in the Bottle, is the next in the series. For more information about the author, visit http://www.swanrange.com/