Leah “Lee” Westfall has a secret: she can sense the presence of gold. Whether it’s a few flakes of gold dust in a riverbed or a nugget hidden under a floorboard, the metal calls to Lee, tugging at her fingers and tingling in her throat.
Since her father fell ill, Lee’s gold sense (as well as her skill with a gun) has allowed her to help provide for her family. But when her beloved parents are both murdered, Lee runs away from her greedy uncle – the only other person who knows her secret. Disguising herself as a boy, Lee joins a wagon train headed for California, where the promise of gold beckons to settlers and opportunists longing to build a new life.
I’ve read and loved my fair share of fantasy novels peopled by witches, wizards, demigods and other magical creatures: books by J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Rick Riordan. But I also love this kind of fantasy: the kind that weaves a glittering thread of magic into a story set in our own world.
In Walk on Earth a Stranger, Rae Carson brings the historical detail of the California Gold Rush to vivid life, tracing Lee’s journey from rural Georgia to Independence, Missouri, and then across the largely uncharted territory of the American West.