Format: Kindle, 464 pages
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times-bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America. Walk on Earth a Stranger begins an epic saga from one of the finest writers of young adult literature.
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?
Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns series, dazzles with the first book in the Gold Seer Trilogy, introducing a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance, as only she can.
Rae Carson's Walk on Earth a Stranger is the first installment in the author's The Gold Seer Trilogy. The series features Leah Westfall, a girl who has the sense to know when gold is around. Leah and her parents live in Dahlonega, Georgia where the gold rush happened in the early 1800's. In many ways, 15-year old Leah is the bread winner of the family because of her amazing gift at finding gold in the most unusual locations. After her parents are murdered, and her (half White, half Cherokee) best friend Jefferson leaves Georgia for the new gold rush to California, Leah's world turns on its head.
What's worse is when her Uncle Hiram comes to claim what he considers HIS property, which also means Leah and her ability at finding gold. Leah's choice to disguise herself as a boy, take whatever money she has leftover, and flee on her horse Peony, is not only tense, but heart breaking. As a reader, you can really feel the emotions that Carson is trying to put forward after watching Leah go from a stable situation, to hell rather quickly. Here is a girl who has lost everything, and has no desire of being anyone's pawn to get rich off her skill set.
Leah, now known as Lee, is a protagonist that readers will love to read about. She's smart, and a protagonist that you can actually like and not worry that she will turn into a Mary Sue character who needs someone to tell her what to do and when. Her skill at shooting and hunting, comes in handy once she joins the wagon train and her best friend heading for California. Carson puts Leah right in the middle of the California Gold Rush and doesn't offer happy go lucky caravans who walk on water without danger happening to anyone.
She makes Leah a helluva a shot with a rifle, which comes in handy. She can hunt better than most men. And, in many ways, she much braver than those men she ends up traveling all the way to California to. Especially when bloody Mary
finally shows up in the middle of nowhere and she has to improvise so no-one knows she's actually a girl.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is very factual story in the regards that Carson does a fantastic job of capturing the dangers of crossing an undiscovered country with illness, fatal injuries, exposure to wild weather, buffalo appearances, and Indians who are featured rather kindly and not badly in this first novel. It took a whole lot of faith and determination for settlers to arrive in tact once they left the confines of the already discovered countryside.
Note: I have moved on and read the sequel and I have to say that this is a series that you must read. If you are curious about romance possibilities, don't give it any thought. While Leah and Jeff are best friends, and there are feelings, there are way too many other things going on that take priority over any romantic interludes.