Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gold Fever by Vicki Delany

Gold Fever by Vicki Delany is the second book in a series about the 19th century gold-rush in the Yukon. She once again brings to life the harsh realities of that magical era where men and women rushed northward, desperate to find gold and become rich.

Fiona MacGillivray returns as the gutsy heroine, who after fleeing England and Toronto, finds herself in the Yukon as the owner of a successful dance hall and saloon named The Savoy. In a rough and tumble world, her grit, determination, and savvy not only help her survive in such a brutal environment, but also gives her the means to support her young twelve year old son, Angus, comfortably.

A colourful caste of characters decorate the pages of this who-dunnit. Young Angus risks his own life to save a suicidal native woman fleeing from a life of prostitution. This innocent act of good will sets off an interesting chain of events. With nowhere else to go, and feeling somewhat responsible for the woman, Angus brings her home to Fiona who helps her find meaningful work to keep her from being drawn back into whoring.

This draws the attention of the woman’s Madame, eager to get the prostitute back to work. Shortly thereafter, two murders happen in Dawson and Angus is slowly drawn into trouble. Ever the protective mother, Fiona seeks to save him with the aid of a journalist and Constable Richard Sterling who is Angus’ mentor and Fiona’s would-be suitor.

Vicki Delany has a knack for detail and realism. The colors, smells, dreams, filth, and toughness of the Klondike evoke the memories of an era long past, but one that is important in Canadian history. Gold Fever is a highly entertaining mystery that glows with realism and kept me turning the pages. A fine book, true to the times it depicts.

Although Gold Digger is the first book in this series, it isn't necessary to read the novels in chronological order.


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