Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com
The wild canyon country of the western United States was relatively unexplored at the turn of the century, but it was home to fifteen-year-old Madolen. She has been raised by her prospector father since the death of her Navajo mother. A Mormon family offers a different kind of life for Madolen, and she leaves her father's cabin to live with them.
She is eager to experience life in the outside world, and now she will help out with the never-ending work on the Olsen's farm, and be educated in math, reading, and the Mormon religion. Her life with the Olsen family is a joy, and she and the Olsen daughter, Claire, share a deep friendship. A tragedy intervenes, and Madolen leaves her home with them to become the guide to a handsome archaeologist as he explores the canyons for native artifacts and art.
Ann Howard Creel provides rich historical detail about the canyon area, the Navajo nation, and the attempts at gold recovery. Madolen is a compelling character and I felt her joy and pain as she fell in love with Wallis, and her worry over her dying father. The story is narrated by Madolen in eloquent prose and colorful descriptions. The lure of gold and the natural dangers of the canyon country are always just below the surface in this fast-paced, unique, and unpredictable story.
I highly recommend this book for its entertainment and historical value. This is an author that I will be watching for.