Publish Date: April 23, 2013
Origins: From Author for Review
Order Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: Mathilda Hardwicke, a rebellious artist rejected by her family and New York society, heads west to Gold Rush California to make a new life for herself as a mail-order bride. When fate leaves her at the altar in Paradise Bar--a ramshackle gold camp full of ragtag miners--she's sure she's leaped out of the frying pan and into the fire.
But unbeknownst to Mattie, she has a protector. Sakote, a fierce Konkow warrior, is bound by honor to watch over the white woman. And though his tribe is threatened by the encroaching miners, he's strangely drawn to Mattie, who delights in making pictures of him and whose destiny seems entwined with his.
When a tragedy at the camp forces Sakote to steal Mattie away, she finds herself in an unfamiliar Paradise of savage wonder, and she soon discovers a forbidden love more precious than gold.
Review: Mathilda (Mattie) Hardwicke doesn’t fit in anywhere since her parents died. She has been passed from relative to relative as she’s seen as rebellious and scandalous for her artwork. The last straw was her most precious painting being destroyed because it offended everyone’s delicate sensibilities instead of being appreciated for its beauty. Mattie answers an advertisement from a man looking for a wife to come out west to California. When Mattie arrives, she finds her husband-to-be has died, but the miners welcome her with open arms and help her out. Along with invisible help from Sakote, a Konkow warrior who is honor-bound to lend protection, Mattie thrives in the small town. Here no one ridicules her artwork and when she finally meets Sakote and his little brother, Hintsuli, she is captivated. Soon a fledgling romance begins to develop between Mattie and Sakote, but they will have their share of adversity along the way. Will love conquer all?
Ms. Campbell has great respect for history and for the native people and it clearly shows through in ‘Native Gold’. The clear and vivid descriptions of life as a gold miner and as a Konkow Indian truly bring the story to life. I enjoyed Mattie’s adventurous and headstrong spirit mixed with her sweet innocence in the ways of the world. Mattie’s romance with Sakote was fraught with misunderstandings and resistance from both of their peoples, but it was filled with wonderment and joy. ‘Native Gold’ is a beautiful story of love despite the odds.
California Legends Trilogy: Native Gold (1), Native Wolf (2), Native Hawk (3)