I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Widow Creek by Sarah Margolis Pearce on Sage’s Blog Tours.
Title: Widow Creek by Sarah Margolis Pearce
Genre: Historical Mystery, Historical Romances
Publisher: Lucky Bat Books
Print Length: 274 pages
Publish Date: October 7, 2018
- ASIN: B07J4S5LRQ
- ISBN-10: 1943588775
- ISBN-13: 978-1943588770
Widow Creek is an incredible story of bravery and adventure as a daring woman takes on the wild frontier of California by herself in 1849. In 2015, historical sleuths try to find a link between the riveting tale of this undaunted woman and three weather-worn boulders on a remote hillside below Hasten Peak. Hidden for nearly 170 years, Mariah’s journal is uncovered. From its pages, the story of Mariah begins to unfold about her days at Widow Creek and the adventure she was determined to take. Intrigued, the modern-day sleuths try to piece together what happened to her after the journal ends. Through the story, they come to know Mariah Hardwick Penngrove, who arrives in a wagon train in Remington River, California, in 1849 with grief and daring in her heart. Newly widowed, she lost a husband on the trail but developed a backbone. Refusing to return to the safety of her parents, she instead forges on to her goal of reaching “the beyond” described by Meriwether Lewis, holding tight to her mother’s copy of The Journals of Lewis and Clark, for comfort and inspiration. One look at Hasten Peak, snow-capped and dominating the landscape, tells Mariah she has found her “beyond.” However, Mariah’s notion of the wilderness and untouched horizons is turned upside down when she becomes embroiled in a land dispute between the bandit, Pajaro Mendonca, and Po Fong, Chinatown madam and leader of a notorious tong. Entrenched in a conflict she never wanted and in a wilderness unknown, Mariah finds that decisions are not so straightforward and trust is a shadowy business.
It’s that undeniable call to the west that Mariah Hardwick can no longer ignore when the opportunity arises for her to see “the Beyond.” What is beyond those fields she gazes at every day from their small piece of earth in St. Louis, Missouri. The siren call comes from unlikely suitor-then-husband Earl Penngrove, who succumbs to his own wretched scheme before the adventure west is half completed. She and her mother had long desired to see what lay beyond the horizon and often turned to the well-worn journal of Lewis and Clark for inspiration, to glean information, and to gain wisdom regarding their journey to the west coast.
Carefully keeping her own journal of the harsh trail with the wagon train they’ve set off on, she tells the tale of continuing without him, settling instead of San Francisco (the original destination), to that of Remington River in northern California where she meets the Old Mandarin…and Pajaro Mendonca.
The hills promised gold after discovery of the element in Sutter Creek near Coloma, California in 1848 and the territory was in a contentious battle between Californios (a Hispanic person who is genetically or culturally descended from the Spanish-speaking community) and land-grabbing newcomers. (California became a state in 1850.) The author has faithfully described the area’s majestic mountains, peaks, and rivers with powerful prose that includes the legend of Pajaro Mendonca, possibly said to be the origin of the tale of Zorro.
Mariah becomes entangled in the intrigue and conspiracies of land grants and titles and her journal ends.
In 2015, hikers discover three large inscribed stones. Pictures of the site are brought to the attention of those who are best equipped to search records, archives, and the history of the area and Mariah’s journal is discovered to be an integral part. Mariah’s unfolding story is mesmerizing, offering a brutal but triumphant tale to be pieced together closing the span of time.
It is somewhat of a romantic tale, although this is not a romance novel per se, but that of the beauty of the west, travel and destination, the land and the people that comprised early California. Mariah is an educated, first-person narrator with whom you quickly become invested. She is complex and naive but strong, intelligent, and beautifully independent. The passages from the Lewis and Clark journals lend such an eerie bite back, as both returned successfully, only to have Lewis die mysteriously three years later.
I was given this ebook download by the author and Sage’s Blog tours and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for those who enjoy a well-plotted, deeply absorbing and engaging historical action-adventure brought to life and time in the present and these opinions are my own.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
Sarah lives and works in San Francisco. Her writing has been published by online literary sites such as WritersType and Midlife Collage. As part of the 2013 San Francisco cast of Listen to Your Mother, she performed her hilarious, spoken word piece, Goodbye, Kimmie.
I have a special interest in the history of Northern California. Specifically, the mid-1800s shortly before California was granted statehood. My Remington River series [beginning with The Promise of Fate] is set in the Golden State around the time of the Gold Rush.
My writing is not limited to historical fiction. My favorite author is Flannery 0’Connor. My short stories have been compared to hers as I explore the strange situations simple folks get themselves into.
Visit my website: http://www.sarahmargolispearce.com
Thanks to Sage’s Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this historical mystery!
©2019 V Williams