cover image Veins of Gold

Veins of Gold

Charlie N. Holmberg. Mirror, $13.99 trade paper (310p) ISBN 978-1-947152-22-9

Holmberg (The Paper Magician) reimagines the California Gold Rush as the end of an enchanted world in this mostly charming historical fantasy romance. Gentry Abrams steps in as head of her household after her widower father’s very sudden departure to seek gold in San Francisco. As she struggles to control her emotions and provide for her younger siblings, alarming natural disasters threaten her small Utah community of Dry Creek. She meets the heroic, mysteriously golden Winn Maheux when he quiets an earthquake. He explains the disasters are caused by rampant mining that’s disturbing the gold that feeds magic. Gentry quickly develops romantic feelings for the unusual outsider, who uses his troupe of obedient seagulls to rescue her multiple times. But everyday pressures, Winn’s irregular appearances, and her father’s silence conspire to push Gentry toward accepting the proposal of much older farmer Hoss Howland, who promises her a stable, secure life. Utah’s history, Mormon polygamy included, provides a rich setting for the mythology that blooms, a bit questionably, to include the fictional Native American tribe who taught Winn to control magic. This clever ecological tale, which dips a tad into the melodramatic, will please readers looking for regionally and historically grounded fantasy. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary. (July)