The Gold in These Hills
Published by Thomas Nelson
Publication Date August 31, 2021
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: California Contemporary, Progressive Era – US – 1890s – 1920s
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Two second-chance love stories, hope across the centuries, and the legacy that binds them together.
Upon arriving at Kenworthy, California, mail-order-bride Juniper Cohen was met by the pounding of the gold mine, the rowdiness of its prospectors, and her greatest surprise of all: the love of the kind man who awaited her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband vanishes, doubt and discouragement are as prevalent as the pioneers fleeing this dwindling boomtown.
As winter blows in, Juniper pens a series of letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost—or worse, an outlaw. Carving out survival for her and her young daughter in a ghost town requires trusting in the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance.
A century later, trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his child and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in California’s San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers the letters Juniper wrote to her Dearest John and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name. Having learned that truth and courage go hand in hand, Johnny dares to love again, and armed with lessons from the past, a modern-day romance unfolds in the very same mountains that once held a love story that touched history.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Hauntingly melancholic with glimmers of hope, The Gold in These Hills is a poignant story of broken lives mended. This time-split novel finds Johnny piecing together his shattered life and heart. And Juniper (June) struggling simply to survive.
I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite character. Each one was so beautifully crafted I felt I knew them and could easily relate to their struggles, hopes, and dreams.
I enjoyed the various methods of sharing the stories: narrative, letters, and journals. They tied together so naturally. The descriptions of the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains brought back vivid memories of the time I lived not so far from them.
Spiritual lessons fill the pages. John’s realization of the magnitude of the sacrifice that Jesus made on his behalf was touching.
Readers who enjoy serious fiction with a well-defined spiritual dimension will enjoy this lovely story.