Synopses & Reviews
A sweeping narrative, set in gold-prospecting Alaska, where ambition, adventure, and romance collide--and the usual rules are forgotten.
The year is 1900. Fleeing from a stormy marriage, Essie, a Midwestern farm girl, joins up with prospectors bound for Nome, where the golden sands teem with dreamers, schemers, and high rollers. Feisty and resourceful, Essie soon makes money caring for horses and delivering mail to the miners' beach diggings. Soon, too, Essie is drawn to Nate Deaton, the idealistic foreman of the Cape Nome Company. Nate's Eastern background is in direct contrast to Essie's down-to-earth Minnesota upbringing, but there is a deeper problem: Leonard, Essie's stubborn and volatile husband, is sure to come after her.
She had lived her life steered by the force of Leonard, against him. And when Leonard does travel north, astonishing scenes of pursuit, sacrifice, and crucial decision rise to a conclusion that is both surprising and inevitable.
Powerfully evoking a past world and the variable territory of the heart, this novel establishes Peter C. Brown as a consummate storyteller.
"The 1900 gold rush to Nome, Alaska, sweeps up Esther (Essie) Crummey, the resilient and pragmatic title character of this evocative historical novel, Brown's promising debut. A Minnesota farm girl, Essie marries a drifter named Leonard Crummey, a volatile man burdened by a painful past. They begin a life together on their own fledgling farm, but the birth of a deformed son, Gabriel, and the devastation of their farm by a flood turn Leonard into a 'hard husband.' His alcoholism and unilateral decision to sell much of their land corrodes their marriage. After further disaster, Essie leaves. Headed for her sister's in Seattle, Essie helps in a dockside accident on a Nome-bound ship, an intervention through which she meets Nate Deaton, the earnest, East Coast educated young foreman for the Cape Nome Company. He hires her for the Nome venture, and mutual respect and conversation draw them together despite their varied backgrounds. But a beleaguered, die-hard Leonard follows his wife to Nome, where he threatens the budding devotion between Nate and Essie. This is an eloquent, memorable first novel, with high-powered characters whose prickly exteriors, created out of the need to survive, hide affectingly yearning and haunted souls." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Fleeing from a stormy marriage, Essie, a Midwestern farm girl, joins up with prospectors bound for Nome. Feisty and resourceful, Essie soon makes money caring for horses and delivering mail to the miners' beach diggings. Soon, too, Essie is drawn to Nate Deaton, the idealistic foreman of the Cape Nome Company.