Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild
The story takes place in 1849. Susanna, her father, mother and sister are on a ship going around South America, taking them ultimately to Oregon.
Things go bad, though, when rough seas sweep her mother overboard, and they are unable to find her or her body. When the boat docks in San Francisco Bay almost everyone deserts the ship, rushing to the areas where gold has been found. Even Susanna's father is bitten by the gold-rush bug and they go off to the wilds.
The novel gives a good idea of just how chaotic everything was, how dangerous everything was, and the fact that there were always people about willing to take advantage of others, including, if necessary, killing them.
There is also reference given to the fact that anyone who was not actually American was subject to hatred and violence, even death, by those who felt that the "foreigners" had no right to be in the gold fields with "real" Americans.
The book deals more with the life people have once they settle then with the actual journey there, and this book shows a very grim, very dangerous type of life many people involved in the gold rush led.
There's also, as always, a historical section. The book is quite interesting; not a happy book, for sure, but still a very good book.
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