Like a River Glorious
By Rae Carson
Published: September 27, 2016
After her harrowing journey west to California, Lee Westfall has finally found a new home—one rich in gold, thanks to her magical power, a power that seems to be changing every day. But this home is rich in other ways, too: with friends who are searching for a place to be themselves, just as she is, and with love. Jefferson—her longtime best friend—hasn’t stopped trying to win her heart. And Lee is more and more tempted to say yes.
But her uncle Hiram hasn’t given up his quest to get Lee and her power under his control. When she’s kidnapped and taken to him, Lee sees firsthand the depths of her uncle’s villainy. Yet Lee’s magic is growing. Gold no longer simply sings to her, it listens. It obeys her call. Is it enough to destroy her uncle once and for all?
Rae Carson, acclaimed author of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, takes us deep into the gold fields as she continues this sweeping saga of magic and history, and an unforgettable heroine who must come into her own. Like a River Glorious is the second book in the Gold Seer trilogy.
Leah (Lee) Westfall has found the perfect spot for a mining camp for herself and her new friends. With her ability to sense gold, they are assured of success but the thorn in her side is Uncle Hiram and his goons. Lee knows that she is going to have to defeat Hiram if she hopes to have a life in California. She's already lost so much to him and she's not about to let him hurt her friends. Then Lee is kidnapped and taken to Hiram's mining operation. She is not entirely alone though with friends like Jefferson on her side and new friends in unexpected places. Her magic is also changing near so much gold. Her uncle wants her to use it to make him rich but Lee has no intention of obeying.
While the first book Walk on Earth a Stranger sets the stage and mostly takes place on the wagon train west, Like a River Glorious is all about the Gold Rush. Lee and her friends establish their own small town and they meet other miners as well. While they are panning for gold on their claims, Hiram is forcing Indian and Chinese laborers to mine the caves at Hiram's Gulch.
This book builds on the friendships and storylines that are established in the first book and it is great to see how much Lee has changed, going from a solitary and secretive person to someone with a family she can trust and rely on. Even secondary characters like Becky Joyner have really developed. In the first book I didn't like her but now she has become a real friend to Lee and the heart of their camp. Jefferson and Lee's relationship changes as well with Lee finally confronting her feelings for him.
The story builds up suspense as Lee tries to find a way out of her current predicament and a way to bring down Hiram. Thankfully there is not a cliffhanger but I am left with questions about what will happen in the next book. While I prefer the setting of Walk on Earth a Stranger since I love to read about wagon trains and pioneer life, I still found this to be a fascinating story. I really liked the character development and the touches of humor. I would suggest this series to fans of teen historical fiction who don't mind just a little magic.
Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss