Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Calico Palace by Gwen Bristow
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Published by Tantor Audio on December 12, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 21 hours
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
This thrilling story of the California gold rush is not about the forty-niners, the prospectors who came rushing to the San Francisco area in 1849, but about the men and women who were there when it all began with the first discovery of gold in 1848, when San Francisco was a village of 900 people. These were the people who went up to the hills and came back staggering under the weight of the treasure they carried, and who began transforming San Francisco from a shantytown into one of the most brilliant cities in the world.
This novel tells the unforgettable story of how these people walked into one of the most spectacular adventures in the world’s history. They saw the first samples of gold brought to the quartermaster, who said they were flakes of yellow mica. They were there when the first people who saw the gold were laughed at and called “crackbrains.” And they laid the foundation of the golden empire before the first forty-niners got there. Some of them could not meet the demands of this strange new world; others grew stronger and shared the greatness of the country they had helped build. Calico Palace is their story brought to vivid life.
My favorite historical romance ever, Celia Garth, is also by this author. When I saw this was narrated by Gabra Zackman, I had to have it. These books are historical fiction, in addition to the romance, which I think is the fascinating part. They were written about 50 years ago so the style and attitudes are a bit old-fashioned but they would be anyway since they are historical.
Some things in Calico Palace were similar to Celia Garth. Both women are strong and smart, with not the greatest family situations. They each have a real talent, cooking or sewing. They begin as very young and alone, and fall in love with love. Throughout the story, they grow and learn and survive. They struggle with some severe circumstances.
In Calico Palace, it is the California gold rush. This leads to rapid over-expansion of San Francisco with a lack of lodging, and food. With some getting rich, they also get foolish with drink and gambling. There are those who don’t make their fortune, and decide to take their due through robbery and murder. It becomes a rather lawless place.
This is an exciting story of a crazy time of change. Kendra and her new friends met at the gold rush, then settle in San Francisco. They were early miners and made their fortune at the front of the rush, when things were a bit less crowded. I really enjoyed this with some interesting characters, quite well-developed. The only thing I found a bit odd is the last pages were about Kendra’s friend, rather than Kendra. The friend was very much a large part of the story and Kendra’s life, but I was surprised Kendra wasn’t the last bit of the story.
I was fortunate enough to listen to Gabra Zackman on one of my very first audio books. It was love at first listen; she remains one of my absolute favorite narrators. She handles all the voices, male and female, well with different ones for each individual and a variety of accents. I listened at 1.25 speed which was comfortable. Her performance made the story even better. I was complete caught up and didn’t want to stop listening.
Listen to a clip:
This giveaway is described in detail on the Series on Saturday post. Because of shipping, this will be US only. I have listed the titles which are available for the giveaway. They are all first in the series. I will start with picking one winner. For every five new subscribers to the blog, I will pick another winner. Winners will have some input as to which audiobook they prefer. So tell your friends about the giveaway and the blog! Any I do not give away this month will be given away at a future date.
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter, narrated by Kristine Hvam (MP3)
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews, narrated by Renee Raudman (CDs)
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi (CDs)
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, narrated by Heather O’Neill (CDs)
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter, narrated by Kristine Hvam (Mp3)
- 🎧 Well Matched by Jen DeLuca @jaydee_ell @brit_pressley @BerkleyRomance @BerkleyPub @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks - October 19, 2021
- It Started with a Dog by Julia London @juliaflondon @BerkleyRomance @BerkleyPub - October 17, 2021
- Sunday Post –17 October 2021 @kimbacaffeinate @readingreality - October 17, 2021
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 Audiobook Challenge
- COYER BSBB