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Purple Like the West (Colors of Faith #2) by…
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Purple Like the West (Colors of Faith #2)

by Virginia Carmichael

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You can't always judge a book by it's cover, or the title, and it's certainly true of this book. At first glance, it appears it might be just a "light and fluffy" romance, but there is so much more substance to this story than that.

This story is set in Francisco, in the early 1900s.
Margaret Gilbert is the daughter of a wealthy railroad owner, but she repelled by the thought of marrying for status, and when she joins the Ladies Aid Society, she is appalled by the treatment of the Chinese immigrant laborers. She vows to expose the abuse, but she also knows that no one will listen to a woman like her.

When she meets Ezra Pendleton, editor and heir to a newspaper empire, she concocts a plan to expose the truth without incurring the wrath of her father, but she does not expect to fall for Ezra, and she has no idea that he is also hiding a secret of his own.

This was a well paced story and quick read; I really enjoyed it. I liked the quotes about newspapers and journalism at the start of each chapter, and how they related to what happened in those chapters. The author did her research well; even though this story is fiction, sadly, the abuse of the Chinese immigrants described in the book was true. The character of Margaret was also based on a real person, a social activist named Donaldina Cameron who fought for the rights of Chinese women and children. ( )
  mom2acat | Aug 1, 2014 |
“Purple Like the West” was written by Virginia Carmichael as one of the novels in the Colors of Faith Series. The novel takes place in San Francisco in the early 1900’s after the Great Fire. The mighty railroads are using Chinese laborers to build the railroads and the Chinese gangs or tongs contract with the railroads to provide the labor. Supposedly the men are paid a wage and provided with room and board; however the tongs take two thirds of the wage and make the laborer pay for food and lodging. The lodging consists of being shackled together in a warehouse.

Margaret Gilbert, the daughter of the head of the Southern Pacific railroad is trying to bring the injustices to the attention of the city. During the dead of night she goes to Chinatown to find out about the atrocities and to see how she can help. Ezra Pendelton is the editor of the The Daily newspaper. He has been sent to the San Francisco paper by his father whose newspaper empire is based in Chicago. Ezra is tired of having to kowtow to his father to keep his position.

Margaret decides to write a column for the newspaper anonymously about the Six Companies and their slave trade labor. Ezra, against his better judgment, decides to print these articles even though he does not know the source. This causes untold problems within the city of San Francisco and among the railroad companies. The story is interesting because of a few things: the plight of women who are expected to be nothing more than an ornament on the arm of her husband, the idea that all women are to be married and have a family, and the idea that higher education is not something women should aspire to.

I enjoyed this book. The only thing that I need to point out is that the title of the book does not remotely indicate what the story is about. I kept trying to reconcile the fact, but did not see any connection. Otherwise, the novel was very enlightening.

You can find this review on my blog at http://wp.me/p2pjIt-8Y. ( )
  SilverShrew | Feb 20, 2014 |
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