Sunday, February 10, 2013
Sweet Betsy From Pike by Sam Sackett
Based on an old Gold Rush era ballad, Sweet Betsy From Pike tells the story of a beautiful minister's daughter who elopes with her lover, Ike, and joins a wagon train bound for California.
In the grip of the Gold Rush, people believe there's so much gold in "Californy" all you have to do is bend over and pick it up off the ground. The couple endure a long, grueling journey, filled with dangers and hardship, encountering Indians and Mormons along the way, until they reach Hangtown, a rough mining camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
But this is much more than a novel about a physical journey, along the way readers get to watch as Betsy grows into a strong, independent woman, and a successful businesswoman, who no longer needs or wants Ike.
This is a very vivid and well researched tale of life in the rugged mining camps where women are scarce, prices are high, and miners work hard and play hard and thrill to their favorite dessert of brandied peaches and seeing the scandalous Lola Montez dance. Dialogue is written in dialect--for example: "Betsy, yer so perty I'd like to eat ya up," and "we cain't wait no two years"--so depending on the reader's personal preferences, some may find this distracting or feel that it adds to the aura of authenticity that surrounds the story.
My sincere thanks to Sam Sackett for sending me a copy of this novel to review.