Author Suzanne Lilly and I are swapping Gold Rush posts this week. See my appearance on her blog at http://teacherwriter.net and enjoy her guest post below:
Love, lust, and gold. They’re three of the most powerful four letter words in the English language.
Say the word “gold” and people will come running from all areas of the globe. The 1849 California gold rush brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area. Nine out of ten of those people were men.
Why did mostly men arrive? Once President Polk announced the gold discovery in California, everyone wanted to capitalize on it. Some men figured if they came out west, they would strike it rich and bring home a fortune to their wives and families. Women stayed home and waited while their men worked hard in the gold fields. Single men came out west, hoping to make a fortune and then move back east to live a life of luxury.
Reality hit them hard when they arrived in California. In the mid-nineteenth century, men didn’t bother themselves too much about housekeeping or cooking. Many of the miners didn’t know the first thing about creating hearty meals. They subsisted on rice and beans, in part because they were sturdy staples, and in part, because they didn’t have time to learn how to cook much else. Gold panning took up all their time.
Beans and rice, rice and beans, morning, noon, and night. “Beans and dishwater for breakfast at the Frenchman’s; dishwater and beans for dinner; and both articles warmed over for supper,” Mark Twain wrote in his journal.
At the height of the gold rush, a slice of bread cost $1. The price doubled to $2 if the bread was buttered. The price of a single egg could range anywhere from $1 to $10, depending on supply and demand.
Due to such a limited diet, many of the men came down with scurvy, even though there was an abundance of wild onion, garlic, and other vegetation they could have added to their three-legged pots. When they became sick or injured, they were ignorant of the folk remedies that could have saved their lives.
This is the world Lucinda Martin York lives in during 1849 in Gold Rush Girl. Lucinda’s mother was a midwife and healer, and she taught Lucinda the herbal lore that was handed down through generations of women. Lucinda finds herself in a unique situation. She is one of the few people who can take care of the sick and injured miners. She also knows how to cook, and she capitalizes on that by providing meals for which the miners are willing to pay top dollar. She hits a bonanza in business, but she struggles in love.
The man she falls for, George Arnold, hails from San Francisco. Like so many other men of his time, he thinks he’ll win in the gold fields. Lucinda and George team up to ward off thieves, fire, and danger as they work their claims. But when it comes to claiming their love, they discover it’s more elusive than finding the gold nugget that will make them rich.
Gold Rush Girl, Book One of The California Argonauts, is the story of a young woman, alone in the gold fields of the Sierra Nevada, creating a daring new life in a bold new land. Immerse yourself in the wild ways of the argonauts and their lust for gold in this new series.
Available now in print and eBook formats from Amazon, Smashwords,Barnes and Noble, and independent bookstores.
During the month of February 2014, use coupon code JS59J at Smashwords and receive 50% off the price of any digital edition.
About Suzanne Lilly
Suzanne Lilly is a teacher and a writer who occasionally takes time off to zipline in Alaska, teach in China, and traipse around Rome. She writes sweet stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending.
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What reviewers are saying about Suzanne Lilly’s books
This is ultimately the coolest YA book I’ve ever read. You don’t have to be a teen to love this book!~~~LAS YA Reviews Long and Short Reviews, about Shades of the Future
The story had me smiling all the way through. It’s sweet, touching, a bit scary and nerve-wracking and ultimately satisfying. The romance is sweet, and this is a book that could be read and enjoyed by readers from the mid-teens on up. ~~~Books in the Hall, about Untellable