A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book when I requested it. I admit, I saw that it was by Rae Carson and requested it without reading the summary. I was so impressed with the research, captivating story telling and characters in this novel.
The pacing was very slow and though the characters travel a great distance it didn’t seem that a lot happened. We follow the story through Lee’s point of view on her journey to California. The story begins in Georgia and we really get a feel for the setting and time period. I found myself intrigued by Leah (she changes the spelling when she pretends to be a boy to Lee). Her ability to sense gold seemed like such a hindrance to me. I loved that Carson approached practical elements…such as if you can sense gold you still can’t cash it all in because that would cause suspicion.
Once Leah dressed as a boy and hit the trail I was so reminded of the old 80’s game my generation played in school, The Oregon Trail. This game was IMPOSSIBLE and I died of dysentery every time I attempted to play.
Carson represented the hardships of traveling by wagon over miles of land so beautifully. I was so impressed with how she handled the small aspects of life (our main characters gets her period!) I loved seeing how things were handled and I felt that Carson did one of the best jobs I’ve read representing a girl character hiding as a boy.
As I said the pacing was slow and the action sequences scarce but I felt completely captivated and I read this book in a short number of days. Where the story left the reader also has me really ready for the next book…not a cliffhanger all that much but it’s the type of ending where you flip the page expecting the next chapter and not the end of the book.
Wow, Carson did such an excellent job creating a cast of characters that were unique, well rounded and so realistic. I loved Leah/Lee and felt she was incredibly easy to root for and connect to. I wanted for her to succeed and I was worried for her multiple times throughout the story. Her best friend, Jefferson, was so likeable though I could use a bit more focus on him in the next novel.
I became attached to the people Lee traveled with on the trail to California and I was as engaged with their stories as I was with Lee’s. I was very impressed with the depth Carson gave the secondary cast of characters.
You might be wondering if there was a romance? Not really though there will most likely be one as the series progresses. I was very much behind a couple though and I’m hoping my ship will sail (or there will be tears).
I was very impressed with how beautiful and captivating Walk on Earth a Stranger was. Although the pacing was slow the story was easily able to keep my interest and I’m incredibly eager for the next book. I must know what happens next in Lee’s life!