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 Ida Hatfield


By Richard Hurley & TJ Meekins

A tale of divided loyalties in the Northern Mines of California

At Missouri House, a stagecoach stop in the goldfields of the Sierra Nevada, Ida Hatfield and her mother, Molly, are surrounded by danger as Yankees, Rebels, and outlaws vie to possess the glittering treasure of the Northern Mines. In nearby Nevada City, Will Stafford, a young Virginian attorney, finds California becoming as dear to his heart as his Southern homeland. When the War of Rebellion rages on, his loves and loyalties are put to the ultimate test.

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Nevada City, The Queen of the Northern Mines, was a vibrant community in the 1860's. The story's characters, real and fictional, come from all over the globe. In addition to the central theme of warring Americans, the book tells of Ah Tie, a Chinese mine owner who is denied justice for his two murdered guards; of Peter Kessel, an Austrian musician and absconded revolutionary, who finds an improbable bride in the American wilderness; and of Nutim, a Nisenan Maidu orphan, who plots revenge against the white 'ghost people' who are destroying his tribe.

I found this book an easy and enjoyable read.  It takes place only a few years after my own book, The Last Jaguar ends, and where The Last Jaguar takes place in Grass Valley, this book takes place in Nevada City.  The two towns are only four miles apart.  The authors' descriptions are excellent, including their description of The National Hotel, which is the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Rocky Mountains. 

Available from Bear River Books 



1000 WHITE WOMEN - The Journals of May Dodd

by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

Despite the unlikeliness of something like this ever happening, I found this book believable and entertaining.  Mr. Fergus' descriptions of the Cheyenne people, their customs and way of thinking  makes you believe that it really took place.  The book is colorful and well-written and doesn't bog down.  I thoroughly enjoyed this read, which was recommended to me by an artist friend, Kevin Sweeney, who produces Indian art and Tomahawks.

 Available from

 One Thousand White Women