Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
Walk on earth a stranger is a western young adult fantasy novel. It is set during the gold rush period in America. The heroine, Lee has the ability to sense gold, wherever it is. This proves to be a useful ability and it allows her family to get by. One day her parents are murdered, and their secret stash of gold is stolen. Lee is left alone and under the control of her uncle, who she suspects was behind the murder.
Luckily, gold has been discovered in California, and people from all over are travelling to California in the hopes of getting rich. Lee decides to take the dangerous journey and make her own fortune as well. She hurries to catch up with her childhood friend, Jefferson, who left earlier for California.
I normally do not read western novels. But this one I really liked. Lee is fifteen years old when the story starts. She is resourceful, sensible, and a good shot with a gun. She is smart about hiding her abilities, and also hardworking. Jefferson, her childhood friend, left his abusive father to make his own fortune as well. He is half-cherokee, and faces racial judgement from the people around him. Despite all this, there is a sense of goodness and honor in him. There is a possibility of a romance, but it’s too early to tell. If ever there will be one, it will probably be a slow burn. Their relationship is built on friendship and trust.
Lee and Jefferson join a company of travelers and we also get to meet characters from the company, who grow and change in the course of the journey. The interaction between these characters during the journey was the part I liked best. And yes, people die.
The story felt very real to me. And for someone who hasn’t read much westerns, this is excitingly different and new. I look forward to the future books in the series, which will probably be even more focused on Lee’s gold-finding abilities.
Rating: 4 stars