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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Her One and Only, Alice Valdal

I'm not a fan of historicals with a few exceptions. I love novels of any kind set in Victorian England. I'm addicted to Charles Dickens, to literary fiction set in that period, to fantasies set there. Any time travel books that end up in Victorian England enthrall me. And to me, Jane Austen is a goddess. I re-read all her books every year - and I swear I've memorized Persuasion - my favorite of them all.

But Alice Valdal has convinced me to take my love of Victorian England and translate it right into a new venue - same timeframe but a whole different world - a rough and isolated gold rush town in the mountains of British Columbia - a place where it takes many days, a boat, a train and a carriage just to get there.

A friend of Alice Valdal's suggested I read her first book last year - The Man for Her - and I enjoyed every minute of it. A couple of weekends ago, I was in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to do a workshop for the RWA chapter there, and Alice was there. She gave me her new book, Her One and Only, and I read it in a single sitting that same night. I loved it.

The book lives up to all the promise of the gorgeous man on its cover.

The setting - a small town during the gold rush in Northern British Columbia - is more than believable. I've been to several ghost towns left over from the gold rush and Prospect could be any one of them. The characters are fascinating - both Emma and Grey are lost souls and the story is their search for the courage to find each other. There's a mystery but this book is really a love story - not just between the main characters but obviously between the writer and the setting. It's not just research for her, it's love.

I'm not sure I'm ready to read all gold rush books - but I am definitely going to read all Alice's books. This one's a keeper.


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