cover image A Slip on Golden Stairs

A Slip on Golden Stairs

Joanne Sundell. Five Star, $25.95 (275p) ISBN 978-1-4328-5505-5

Two love stories intertwine across the centuries in Sundell’s spooky tale set in an Alaska ghost town. Abby Gray is a college student studying the history of gold mining. Her passion leads her to take a mining internship in Alaska for the summer. But once there, Abby begins hearing a disembodied voice call for Abigail. Alternating chapters focus on Abigail Grayce, who, in 1897, is seeking employment as a miner. Abigail soon meets hardened yet well-mannered Elias Colt, whose own journey has taken him from the brothels and saloons of Portland and Seattle to the Alaskan mines. As contemporary Abby immerses herself in the living history of gold mining, the respective eras begin to intermingle, and a man named Eli Cole joins her in the present. Sundell has a solid handle on the history of gold mining and captures the cadences and atmosphere of the 19th-century American West. Secondary characters, including Abby’s excessively belligerent father, strain believability, and Abby’s frequent second-guessing of the paranormal elements somewhat lessens their impact for readers. But the more organically occurring supernatural interludes pair comfortably with the romance, resulting in a nostalgic and fun ghost story. (Aug.)