Author: David M. Jessup
Publisher: Pronghorn Press
Publish Date: November 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publicist; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
From Goodreads.com: "Based on real characters and the mysteries connected with historic events, Mariano’s Crossing is a mesmerizing tale of people struggling to find their places in the rapidly changing landscape of post-gold rush Colorado. Mariano Medina, a former scout with Kit Carson, has become the richest man on Colorado’s Big Thompson River. But his success provokes resentment among the new settlers. To bolster respect for his family, Medina decides to send his daughter, Lena, to an expensive boarding school. But his Indian wife, Takansy, has other ideas. She wants Lena to pursue her skills with horses, her “spirit path.” As their conflict grows, young John Alexander, son of a domineering, hardscrabble sawmill owner, tries to persuade Lena to run away with him to start a new life. Their tug of war soon spirals out of control as secrets past and present propel them toward their final, haunting encounter."
My Two Cents:
I was initially drawn to Mariano's Crossing because it's historical fiction (you all know how much I love historical fiction) and two, it takes place in Colorado. I was born in Colorado and I have a lot of family in Colorado to this day. Colorado has a very rich history with a lot of big personalities like Kit Carson. Mariano Medina, who was one of Carson's scouts, is at the center of this book. He was a real person but I had never heard his name before. I love reading about the lesser known stories in our history so this was very interesting to me.
I really enjoyed this book. Mariano, a man of Mexican descent, and his wife, who is of Native American descent, have an incredibly hard time finding their place in the 1860s world where mixed race marriages were not common and were sort of frowned upon. Whereas Mariano had a high ranking place when he was with the likes of Kit Carson, trying to make an everyday living with his family is proving harder than any expedition he had been on. I really liked the sort of fish-out-of-water aspect of this book. The whole family really struggles to find their place.
I also really liked the story between Lena, Mariano's daughter, and John Alexander, the son of another shopkeeper in town. They come from two different worlds but neither of them really seems to see that even when both of their families seem to want to stop at nothing to keep them apart. This book is definitely character-driven more so than anything else. Jessup does a really good job of giving the reader some insight into all of the different characters.
Bottom line: A great character driven historical fiction!