Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

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Once again, I was rivetted by the story of Lee Westfall, as she fights against the injustices that she and the mining community of Glory face. In this conclusion Lee must survive the machinations of a powerful billionaire who is determined to destroy her little band of friends. She has finally found a place to settle and is surrounded by the misfit gang from the wagon train but is determined that the little town of Glory should be given its own charter and sets off to San Francisco. There while trying to retrieve the house that Becky Joyner’s husband had had dismantled and sent by sea, they uncover all the dishonest things that the billionaire, Hardwick, has in place to defraud the local people out of what should rightfully be theirs. Therein follow some very exciting and dangerous adventures, while a twisted complicated plot is hatched to bring Hardwick down.

The historical aspects of this trilogy are beautifully described and brought to life by Carson, who obviously has done a lot of research into early gold mining and the history of San Francisco. I could almost smell the mud and see the ship Charlotte which had been refitted to house not only Lee and her friends, but the horses as well. In this book, she also brings to light the struggle that women had, not being able to own property once they married. Becky Joyner is denied access to claiming her house because she did not have a husband, and Lee has second thoughts about marrying because it means her husband will own everything. The plight of the poor, African Americans and Indians is also examined.

Lee continues to be a strong, thoughtful leader and readers will be delighted with the conclusion to this trilogy.

Themes: Strong female character, San Francisco - History, California, Gold mining, Adventure, Fantasy.

Pat Pledger