My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary from GoodReads
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.
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? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.
Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.
BUY ON AMAZON (click the cover)
Western scenery, wagons and gold are the top themes in this new trilogy coming from one of my favorite authors!
The year is 1849 and America lives through the "gold fever" a period in which many migrated towards California searching for gold and a new life. Lee lives with her parents in Georgia and has a secret; she can sense gold and her power is so strong she can even feel it under the mountains and deep in the earth.
Her best friend is Jeff who is half Native American and he is also considered as a person with "defencincies" through the novel despite him being a good person. After Lee's parents are found dead, she will not only become a boy but also she will journey towards California in order to escape her parents' murderer and keep her abilities a secret.
The book is mostly about the journey through the harsh enviroment of the American territory, through forests and rivers, mountains and deserts. Many times I opened a map in order to see the route for myself and I assure you that this is an adventure. Not only Lee has to travel as a boy, act like one and stay safe but she also meets with many people, most of them either travelers or greedy pursuers.
On the other hand, having in mind that this is the 19th century, Lee's status as a woman is always considered as fragile and delicate, yet she wokrs harder than anyone. Also, the women who are shown into the book, despite having a different position than the men, they are strong in their own ways. From how they act with their families, to childbirth and taking serious desicions.
Lee's character was one of the strongest I saw in the book. Through her POV and eyes we see a detailed world building which really felt like a perfectly made movie, and her moments with Jeff were sweet but slow. The romance here I hope will escalate in the second book, as along as something doesn't happen to any of them (if you have read Rae's first trilogy you'll know what I mean).
In the book also you may come to see how everyone treats Native Americans as "lowly, savages animals". Jeff is also treated disrespectfully because of his heritage and there are some bad scenes in the book, in which the men of the wagons treat the Native Americans badly. The term which is used in the book, which also has to match the time period, is "Indian", so please don't get angry. I know that Rae has done her research and she is actually very accurate in the words she uses.
This book has quite a lot of promise and I am defenitely reading the next one too!
About the author: