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Calico Palace by Gwen Bristow
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Calico Palace (original 1970; edition 1970)

by Gwen Bristow

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199159,063 (4.19)10
Member:annar
Title:Calico Palace
Authors:Gwen Bristow
Info:Thomas Y. Crowell (1970), Edition: Reprint., Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, historical fiction, california fiction, san francisco fiction

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Calico Palace by Gwen Bristow (1970)

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This author brings the gold rush and San Francisco to life. I actually owned this book in the 70's (and loved it). I have no idea why I gave it away, as now I had to buy another used copy. Hope I didn't buy my own back again!

This is a book about Kendra, who with her mother and step father came to San Francisco right before the start of the gold rush. Kendra was an unwanted child, and she soon finds the man of her dreams, marries him and they are off to the gold country. Among the group they are travelling with are Marny, the proverbial good girl gone bad, who is going to the gold camps to set up a saloon/gambling hall with her partner. All goes well at first, until a secret about Ted's past shatter's Kendra's happiness. Marny and Kendra return to San Francisco and Kendra works to rebuild her life, as Marny works on building a new Calico Palace instead of the tent she had at the gold camp.

The author does a wonderful job of bringing both San Francisco and the gold country to life. I loved the touch she put in about the first steamer to arrive with real gold seekers from the east coast, and the harrowing tale of the first group to cross the isthmus. The story takes you through the muck and mud, torrential rains, fires, thievery and everything else that came about as a result of instant wealth that the gold brought. The characters were wonderful, especially Pocket (loved Pocket's pockets).

All in all a pretty perfect read, and I'm sorry the story had to come to an end. Highly recommended for any lover of historical fiction or tales of the gold country. As a side note, for any who are interested in the gold country and it's history, I highly recommend taking the time to visit it. So many of the original towns are still there, with much of the original buildings. Up and down Highway 49, it's one adorable gold rush town after another. ( )
1 vote Misfit | Jun 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671824716, Paperback)

This thrilling story of the California gold rush is not about the forty-niners, the prospectors who came rushing to the San Francisco area in 1849, but about the men and women who were there when it all began with the first discovery of gold in 1848, when San Francisco was a village of 900 people. These were the people who went up to the hills and came back staggering under the weight of the treasure they carried, and who began transforming San Francisco from a shantytown into one of the most brilliant cities in the world.

This novel tells the unforgettable story of how these people walked into one of the most spectacular adventures in the world’s history. They saw the first samples of gold brought to the quartermaster, who said they were flakes of yellow mica. They were there when the first people who saw the gold were laughed at and called “crackbrains.” And they laid the foundation of the golden empire before the first forty-niners got there. Some of them could not meet the demands of this strange new world; others grew stronger and shared the greatness of the country they had helped build. Calico Palace is their story brought to vivid life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:45 -0400)

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