Saturday, January 15, 2011
Review-Heartbroke Bay, by Lynn D'Urso
Berkley Trade Paperback
November 2, 2010
In 1898 Lady Hamilton, recently from England is traveling by rail on a tour of the West. Hannah Butler is one of her servants and she bleakly envisions four remaining in her employ. During their trip Hannah meets Hans Nelson, a fellow traveler bound for the Pacific. Their courtship is brief and they soon marry. Nelson has visions of striking rich as he plans to make a fortune mining gold. Along the way they encounter three other gold seekers, Harky, Dutch and Michael Severts. Their journey seeking riches is not an easy one, as countless others discover. Undaunted by the climate and horror stories they manage to make a tenuous landing after a ferocious storm in Lituya Bay, Alaska. For months they work tirelessly with meager results. Their promise of wealth alludes them. When they loose their only means of transportation back to civilization there despair is lifted when Negook, a local Tlingit shaman agrees to take them back home. As they enter his village, abundant food and wealth are everywhere, and a plan to stay is agreed upon by all. Negook is convinced the white people are causing bad luck to his people. Knowing that the only way for him to rid himself of their presence is to give them what they want. He sees their greed is driving their destiny and is sure they won’t survive, so Negook leads them to gold, lots of gold.
Based on a true story of Hans and Hannah Nelson. With D’Urso’s research and some imagination it is easy to picture the despair and isolation felt by the the four men who along with Hannah Nelson battled the harsh and hostile climate of Alaska.
Disclosure: This book was given to me by Historical Novels Review.
Review first published HNR, November 2010.
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