GOLD & LACE
Heather McKenna was left behind with her father in a squalid neighborhood of New York by her brother, Dennis, a dreamer ill-suited to the rigors of the Sierras. And so it is up to Heather to escape New York and a bleak future. Heather dreams of someday becoming an independent and wealthy California woman. She will use her brains and beauty to gain ship's passage then fall in love with a handsome seaman even while being courted by a rich and irresponsible rogue.
In this full-blooded and epic take of hardship, adventure and triumph, Heather McKenna will overcome the malaria infested jungles of Panama, raging oceans and the lustful, scheming men of San Francisco in order to achieve her dreams of Gold & Lace.
Gold & Lace was one of my favorite novels to research and write. It required me to learn about early sailing and navigation and about the ordeals that the gold fevered Argonauts underwent just to reach California. It is easy to imagine the terrors they must have felt while trying to survive the raging storms rounding Cape Horn or fighting through the steamy, pestilent jungles of Panama.
Much in this novel is based on fact, including the fires that burned San Francisco, the Sydney Ducks and hangings ordered by the Committee of Vigilance. And finally, I visited towns and historic sites in the Sierra foothills where the scars of hydraulic mining still remain as testimony to the unbridled greed unleashed by huge mining companies willing to destroy wilderness beauty for gold.