Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Pub. Date: September 22, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Girl of Fire and Thorns,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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? 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."
Leah lives on her parent's farm in Georgia, but she isn't your usual girl living during the Gold Rush. She can hunt and shoot a rifle better than most boys, work on her parent's farm and she also possesses an unusual ability to find gold. The only people that know about her ability to find gold are her parents as they have hid this secret from everyone else. Leah's parents are hiding three pounds of gold dust in their house, hoping to take it to another town and cash it in without being noticed, but before they have the opportunity to do that, Leah's parents are brutally murdered. Leah returns home from school to find them murdered in cold blood and the gold is gone. In comes Leah's only living relative, her Uncle Hiram, who is a very successful lawyer. Leah doesn't get a good vibe off of him; in fact, she suspects him of the murder and realizes that she needs to leave her homestead and head out to California. The problem is she should have gone with Jefferson, her best friend, when he asked her before, but now she has no one to go with and traveling as a girl alone through the Old West is not an option. She realizes that she needs to pose as a boy and join a wagon train heading towards California. That's when her true adventure begins. Rae Carson's Walk on Earth a Stranger is an entertaining romp through the Old West. It has a lot of adventure, a slight touch of romance and a dash of fantasy. It's the start of a promising new series.
I loved Leah right away in Walk on Earth a Stranger. I mean who doesn't love a girl who can hold her own? I felt so, so sorry for her when her parents were murdered and then her creepy uncle comes to town. I was glad to see she was going to escape his clutches. Leah is such a smart and courageous young woman and I loved every second of her adventure. It reminded me of my childhood obsession with the game Oregon Trail.
The setting, for me, is what really stood out in Walk on Earth a Stranger. I absolutely love the Old West and I can't say I have read many books that take place then, so this was a lot of fun. It was a rough time and the trek to California was an incredible adventure, often deadly as well, and Carson really captured this.
However, the slow burn of the romance between Jefferson and Leah didn't really work for me. I didn't find Jefferson swoon-worthy or even that interesting. He was just kind of there, so that's why I didn't completely call in love with this novel.
The fantasy elements of Walk on Earth a Stranger, being Leah's gold sense, hasn't really been explored too much, but I know it will come into play even more in book two, which is due out next year. I will definitely be reading it! So, if you like stories with adventure, brave female protagonist and a captivating setting, check out Walk on Earth a Stranger this fall.