Thursday, November 30, 2017

West from the Cradle by Brigid Amos

West from the Cradle
by Brigid Amos

GENRE: YA Historical Fiction


Travis Cooper was not meant to be a prospector. Small for his age, he has never been much help on the family farm in Missouri. How could he survive the journey west to take up such backbreaking work? But when he sees a copy of the California Star in the fall of 1848, everything changes. One shining word jumps off the page: GOLD! Now staying alive is a struggle. Keeping his partner from getting himself killed is even harder!


Travis paid for the nails and was almost out the door when Hillerman called to him and beckoned for him to come back to the counter. “Come here a second, son. I want to show you something.” Reaching down behind the counter, the shopkeeper pulled out a stack of newspapers. “Melvin Ellerbee brought me these newspapers from St. Joe. It’s this one I wanted you to see.” Hillerman handed Travis the newspaper on the top of the stack.

“California Star,” Travis murmured. “This newspaper’s from California?”

“It’s from San Francisco to be precise. That newspaper was sent out this way by the editor, a Mr. Brannan of San Francisco, to recruit new American Californians. Clever fellow, that Brannan. What I wanted you to see was this article by Victor something or other. His name’s French I guess. Here, look!” Hillerman pointed to an article on the front page.

As Travis skimmed the article, one shining word jumped right off the page. “Gold?” he asked, looking up at the shopkeeper for confirmation.

“Gold!” Hillerman said. “They found gold in the American River. I figure there’s more where that came from, and there must be plenty of other rivers and streams out there that have it in them.”

“Those folks are lucky, aren’t they? I’d call that being in the right place at the right time.”

“They’re lucky all right. But so will be those who emigrate out there this spring. It sounds like there’s plenty to go around.”

Travis put the newspaper down and searched Hillerman’s face. “Is that what you’re thinking of doing? Going out there to California?”



This feel-good historical read was just the ticket for a relaxing few hours.  Puny but likable, Travis Cooper, gets to experience the adventure of a lifetime unexpectedly when his older, stronger brother has to forego the trip in order to care for their newly injured father. 

Just 16, Travis faces hardship and misadventure on the long trail from Missouri to California in mid-nineteen hundred.  I enjoyed the story as the long trek across country via wagon played out beautifully.  The author’s charming descriptive narrative transported me back to that earlier time in my mind. 

Travis faces and overcomes many difficulties before he and his new partner finally stake their claim.  Then there is even more intrigue as rash actions and a love of gambling land his partner in a heap of trouble.  The action is intense throughout and the story is never dull.

I disliked the big gap in the story after Travis falls gravely ill then almost dies. He’s invited to join another group but declines; determined this time to make the remainder of the journey on his own. Then the story picks up again, on location sometime later at the claim in California. 

Even as small as he is, Travis has a natural knack for prospecting.  While I was happy for his successes, I also became skeptical that the back-breaking labor could be so easy for the lad. The book closes at a logical point and it seems the next adventure may pick up further south, possibly in Mexico. 

Several thought-provoking themes were skillfully woven into the story-lineI enjoyed this book and look forward to further adventures as Travis navigates the Wild West.

Reviewed by Laurie-J

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. Her first novel, A Fence Around Her, was published by Clean Reads in 2016. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the boards of Angels Theatre Company and Women Writing the West. She is also an active member the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.

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Brigid Amos will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Brigid Amos said...

Thank you for hosting West from the Cradle. I appreciate this insightful review. Also, thanks Lisa Brown for stopping by!

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing the great post!

Bridgett wilbur said...

I would just love to read your book.

Brigid Amos said...

Thank you Bridgett Wilbur and Victoria Alexander for stopping by! By the way Bridgett, love your name! :-)