Synopses & Reviews
Portland, 1868. It is a rough hewn place, an exploding trading post that has dreams of becoming a metropolis.
Horace Stratton, one of Portland's wealthiest heirs, has decided to come home for good after amassing yet another fortune in Shanghai. With him comes his wife Emily, a shy daughter of missionaries, and their teenaged son. On the brink of that happy return, Horace suddenly falls ill and dies in San Francisco.
Emily and her son bring her husband home to Portland and they try to settle into this new culture. While they look as if they should belong, Portland is a strange and unsettling place for them.
Emily is guilt-ridden, but sorrow is one of the few emotions she didn't feel when told of her husband's passing. For Emily had learned more about her husband's past than anyone would believe. And she discovers that all of his schemes did not die with him.
His partners very much want Emily and her son to go away... by whatever means necessary. Emily will have to delve into her husband's seedy and painful past and set things right so that she can make a life for herself and her son in this strange land.
"Best known for her Catherine LeVendeur medieval series (The Witch in the Well, etc.), Newman turns to her hometown of Portland, Ore., for this lackadaisical 1860s historical. The rough young city is growing fast, creating a wealth of opportunities for unscrupulous businessmen. When Horace Stratton, who made his fortune in China, dies on his way back to Portland with his wife, Emily, the daughter of American missionaries in China, Emily must manage her new life alone. After delving into Horace's business affairs, Emily learns that his fortune came from the abhorrent opium trade. Her reform efforts trigger alarm among the city's power brokers. As bodies start piling up and her own safety is threatened, Emily struggles to find her place in a society that expects women to stay home and let men take care of things. All the elements are in place for a rich, multilayered story, but weak character development and the heavy-handed portrayal of the era's sexism make for a disappointing read. Loyal Newman fans may wish for a return to the 12th century." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Newman, author of the much acclaimed Catherine LeVendeur medieval mysteries, always does her research for her brilliant historicals." Library Journal
After the murder of her missionary parents in China, Emily marries a shrewd entrepreneur from Portland, Oregon. She learns too late that Horace Stratton is cruel. After Horace dies, Emily and their son arrive in Portland and discover a strange and potentially deadly land. First in a new series.
About the Author
Sharan Newman is a historian, lecturer, and writer who has won many awards, including the Macavity for Best First Mystery, and the Herodotus for Best Historical Mystery.