'There are people in this town with the gleam of gold in their eyes and cold steel in their hearts.'
This is the second in the series of historical fiction novels by Alison Stuart, set in the fictional Victorian mining village of Maiden’s Creek. In 1873, Eliza Penrose arrives in Maiden’s Creek ready to begin a new life and to reunite with her brother. But her family’s circumstances have greatly changed, and Eliza’s uncle seems politely, but firmly, keen to be rid of her.
Fortunately Eliza is the feisty type — she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. But dour Scot, mining engineer Alec McLeod, leaves a mark on her with his first impression. Naturally, it will not be the last she sees of him — he is embroiled somehow in a struggle of his own regarding her brother’s plans. As Eliza begins to suspect there is more to what happened to her brother, she struggles to understand why people in the town are so inhospitable when she is only trying to help. Soon Alec explains his involvement — and Eliza realises that there are missing details regarding Will’s death that have gone awry.
As with the previous book, The Postmistress, this is a pacy read, full of colourful descriptions and terrific dialogue. Mystery and subterfuge is always a great place to start and to get the whip cracking. The cast of characters in The Goldminer's Sister are various degrees of dark and endearing, setting the tone for the community and the various types of people thrown together during the “gold fever” years of Victoria’s settler days. The isolated village community keep a great number of secrets. But Eliza is determined to get to the bottom of them. One particular character is the schoolmistress, Flora McDonald — she’s terrific —I hope we see her in the next book too.
As we are introduced to these delightful people, several of the previous book’s characters make cameo appearances. You can’t help but be swept away in this world of Maiden’s Creek — and yes, there’s a mine collapse, romance and children —just to build the tension and keep us on our toes!
Release date 8th July, 2020.
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.