Author: Brigid Amos
Narrator: James G Charron
Length: 6 hours 40 minutes
Publisher: Clean Reads
Released: Jun. 26, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Travis Cooper was never meant to be a prospector. But when shopkeeper Raymond Hillerman shows him a copy of the California Star in the fall of 1848, one shining word jumps off the page: gold! That one word changes everything. Undersized and bookish, Travis isn’t the sort who would leave his home in Missouri to make the perilous journey west to California. Not much help on the farm, he’s certainly not likely to take up the backbreaking work of a gold miner. Besides, it’s his older brother Jonas that Mr. Hiller-man has hired as his partner in the diggings. But when their father is injured, Jonas must stay be-hind to work the farm, and Travis sets out on the trail in his brother’s place. Along with adventure comes danger, and Travis discovers that staying alive is more difficult than he ever imagined. Keeping his partner from getting himself killed may be downright im-possible....
Brigid Amos’ fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. Her historical novels are set in the old California mining towns of the nineteenth century and include A Fence Around Her and West from the Cradle (Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Finalist). A produced playwright, she co-founded Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of Angels Theatre Company. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.
I am a Civil engineering technologist by trade, however I have been a voice actor for the last 3 years, narrating 5 audiobooks, radio commercials, and now producer of The Interview Dudes Podcast hosted by 3 eleven yr old boys (one of which is my son). The podcast has interviewed 2 Oscar winners, an Emmy nominee, a NYT bestselling author/illustrator, Canada's first astronaut in space, NASA research engineer on the Cassini project, a oceanographer from NOAA, a volcanologist from NASA and many more!
West From the Cradle is a good book. I enjoyed the historical details of the story. I felt like I was transported back in time with Travis and thought his struggles to survive. I could not imagine living during those hard and trying times. Brigid Amos is a talented author and I hope to read more by her.
I had the pleasure of hearing the audio version of West From the Cradle. I absolutely loved listening James G Charron’s voice. His performance perfectly brought this book to life.
I recommend this book to readers, young and old who love to read good, clean historical fiction.
I received this book from the publisher. This book review is 100% my own honest opinion.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Brigid Amos. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Protagonist Travis Cooper
- Interviewer: So Travis, aren’t you a little young to be a prospector? You must be around...well let me guess. Twelve years old?
- Travis: I’m seventeen!
- Interviewer: Ok, don’t get riled up! But you’ve got to admit, you’re a bit small for your age, so naturally...anyway...let me see. Now what made you set out for California from Missouri?
- Travis: Well, actually, it was my older brother Jonas who was supposed to go, but just as he and Mr. Hillerman, oh, I have to tell you about Mr. Hillerman. He’s the local shopkeeper in Larksville, that’s our town in Missouri, and he’d hired Jonas to be his driver on the trail and his partner in the diggings. Anyway, just as Jonas and Mr. Hillerman were about to set out for St. Joe, our pa fell down the stairs and broke his arm and well...I try to help out on the farm but…
- Interviewer: It’s really your brother that does all the work? And he had to stay behind and help on the farm when your father was injured?
- Travis: Well yes. But I figured I could pick up gold nuggets as well as anybody.
- Interviewer: Oh you thought it was going to be that easy, did you? That you would have this nice trip out to California with a wagon train and pick up gold out of a river?
- Travis: No I didn’t think-- You have no idea. You couldn’t know...
- Interviewer: What’s the matter?
- Travis: The trip out to California wasn’t what you think. I mean, I had some amazing experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world, but there were some others that were just…
- Interviewer: Do you want to talk about it?
- Travis: No. You can read my journal.
- Interviewer: Oh you kept a journal? Well that’s good. If you’re willing to share it with me, I’d love to read it. Ok, so you had an eventful trip out to California, and then you started to pick up gold nuggets out of the river.
- Travis: No, you know it’s not that easy. First I learned to pan for gold on the American River by watching the other prospectors. Then I learned to use a rocker to extract more gold from the gravel. And then I went up to the Yuba River and staked my claim. And you know what? I might not have been a good farmer back in Missouri, but I’m a really good prospector.
- Interviewer: I’m sure you are. Now tell me about this Joaquin de la Rosa. How did you get involved with that lowdown scoundrel?
- Travis: He’s my best friend! You have no right to talk about him that way!
- Interviewer: Ok, ok! Calm yourself. I’m only repeating what I’ve heard others say about him, that he’s a professional gambler and that he cheats at cards.
- Travis: That’s a lie! Joaquin may not take prospecting too seriously, but he takes Spanish Monte very seriously. He’s played that card game since he was a child in Monterrey, and he’s very good at it. He would never cheat. What happened at Dillard’s Bar was not his fault, I’m telling you.
- Interviewer: You’re a good friend to him, aren’t you?
- Travis: I hope I have the courage to be. He’s in a lot of trouble right now. I just don’t want to let him down.
Brigid Amos' Top Ten Literary Inspirations
- Thomas Hardy, because he combines story and style so beautifully.
- Flannery O’Connor, because she always gives me something to ponder.
- Carson McCullers, for the way she gets into a character’s head.
- Shirley Jackson, for both her chilling short stories and her hilarious essays.
- Larry McMurtry, for making me realize I wanted to write historical fiction.
- Thomas Wolfe, for his crazy gorgeous language and letting us into his life.
- Edith Wharton, for her mastery of structure.
- George Eliot, who could hold her own among the male writers of her day.
- Charlotte Bronte, because I read Jane Eyre when I was too young but still got it.
- Emily Bronte, who was an incredibly brave writer and had so much more to give.
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