Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: RED HOT SUMMER
Author Guest / August 19, 2020

As the hot breath of August inspires us to escape the heat with cold drinks, swimming pools, and air-conditioned spaces (alone or properly socially-distanced, of course) we’ll look at escapes into fascinating views of nineteenth-century life. Two of these visions focus on the California coast.  In CALICO PALACE by Gwen Bristow, two women from vastly different backgrounds arrive in California on the eve of the 1849 Gold Rush.  Kendra’s army colonel stepfather brings the family to San Francisco as commander of the city’s defenses during the Mexican War.  Marny travels from Honolulu to set up a gaming establishment.  Both end up following the gold craze into the mining camp of Shiny Gulch, where they set up the Calico Palace, a tent that evolves over time to become the most elegant gambling house in California. Rich in detail about the rapid rise of a sleepy town into a major economic powerhouse, Bristow’s tale illuminates the stories of miners and settlers, gamblers, and drifters, those dreaming of fortunes built on gold dust, and those ready to profit from those dreams. In BELLE CORA by Phillip Margulis, small-town New York girl Arabella Godwin grows up to become a woman so infamous, relatives back…