Summary: Lee Westfall has a gift – she can sense gold in the world around her. After her parents are murdered for her abilities, Lee disguises herself as a boy and flees west to California – where gold has just been discovered. But the journey is a dangerous one to make, and Lee is still chased by her parents’ murderer who will stop at nothing until Lee belongs to him.
Thoughts: I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I’ll let you know upfront that the two main reasons I bought this book are 1- the cover was just too beautiful to see on the bookstore’s shelf and walk away from 2- the title was very promising and made me want to read the book without even turning it around to know what the book was about. Obviously when I realized what a rare setting this is in YA (Gold-rush era), my excitement was further piqued. I loved Lee from the very first page – she was so honest, kind, good and loving – all things I shy away from in a main character because I like them more complex than that. But with Lee, I didn’t seem to mind. If anything, it made her more endearing. She was always smart and hard-working and perceptive of herself and those around her. The story followed Lee as she joins a company of people trekking to California, a perilous journey that takes the better half of a year. Throughout that time, friendships were formed and enemies too. I loved seeing Lee grow and learn from those around her and seeing how all their relationships changed the deeper into the journey they went. By the end of the book, I ended up loving characters I really disliked at the start. This is one of those books where you travel vicariously through a character and get to enjoy all sorts of beautiful scenery. That was very beautiful done. The one thing that didn’t meet my expectations was the ending – it was fast and short and I was preparing myself for a showdown that didn’t come. However, I think the ending suited the story well because Lee wasn’t driven by the need to avenge her parents, but by the desire to shed away her disguise and secrets and let the people who have become like a family to her see her and accept her for who she really is. I tore through the book and stayed up all night to finish, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.