1890s. Colorado. Following her mother’s sudden death, thirteen-year-old Hannah Owens is hired as domestic help by a wealthy doctor’s family in Colorado Springs. When the doctor declares bankruptcy and abandons his family to finance his mistress Pearl DeVere’s brothel,
Hannah is thrown into a world of gold mining bonanzas and busts, rampant prostitution and the economic, political and cultural upheavals of the era.
Two of Cripple Creek’s most colorful historic characters, Winfield Scott Stratton, eccentric owner of the richest gold mine in Cripple Creek, and Pearl DeVere, the beautiful madam of The Old Homestead come to life as this old-fashioned, coming-of-age saga unfolds, a tribute to the women who set the stage for women’s rights.
This was really interesting, I’m always fascinated by stories of women’s lives through history and to be honest, the Colorado gold rush isn’t something I know much about, being British. My cousin and her family now live there though, so this added a little extra interest for me.
Hannah Owens is a brave and resourceful woman, she doesn’t expect much from her hard scrabble life on the fringes of the mining community of Cripple Creek. She’s willing to work hard and fight.
She finds herself raising a child, the daughter of her friend Abigail, and singing at events hosted in the fanciest brothel in town. None of this is easy, and despite her youth she is level headed and wise beyond her years.
The story was fascinating and I cheered Hannah on as she fought to live her life on her own terms and survived some truly horrible things. The ending made me cross, just as everything was finally working out and I can only hope that in the sequel Hannah doesn’t have to suffer too much.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.