In the Land of Plenty
by Mary Smathers
In This Land of Plenty, by Mary Smathers
In her novel, Smathers shares the benefit of careful research interwoven with imagination and compassion as she welcomes us into a family saga that spans California’s colonization and connects ancestral history to the present day. A young woman unravels the mysteries surrounding her family’s 250-year history. DNA reports enable her to trace her roots back to the Anza expedition and its impact on Ohlone peoples inhabiting Alta California long before the first Spanish missions and Mexican ranchos took hold, reaching forward in time to the Gold Rush era and beyond. Smathers portrays the seismic shifts in California history through the victories and tragedies of her diverse cast of characters.
by Karen Kondazian
The Whip, by Karen Kondazian
“Friendship, true friendship is a curious dance. Why does one recognize and embrace one soul and yet not another. What is that? That something unspoken. Perhaps it is a long ago remembrance of another time, another place, those same familiar eyes shining out. Always we are searching for those recognizable eyes…so that we might at last be recognized ourselves.” (from The Whip)
Inspired by a true story, The Whip takes readers on an adventure along dusty trails of the Wild West while raising questions about revenge and forgiveness. Kondazian’s historical fiction is based on the life and times of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (1812-1879). Orphaned at birth, young Charlotte grew up in New England, fell in love with a runaway slave, had his child, and witnessed the destruction of her family. Revenge drove her to California, where she lived out her days as a man and worked as a “whip,” driving a stagecoach for Wells Fargo. Parkhurst had fooled the world about her identity, but her grit and resilience won the admiration of many and made her a legend of the West. Kondazian’s book is a page-turner that fans of Westerns and historical fiction are sure to enjoy.