Title: Sary’s Gold
Author: Sharon Shipley
Genre: Historical Western, Historical Adventure
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Shortlisted in the 2018 Chanticleer Book Review Contest: Civil War/Prairie/Western Division.
A raw young widow changes into a ruthless determined goldminer/outlaw of 1890's California, triumphing over a brutal town, and one obsessed saloon owner who wants her alive—or dead…if he can't have her.
Upon the untimely death of her young husband, Sary is forced into her brother's charge. Neither is pleased with this arrangement, but it's the 1880s; women have no say. He's an impotent, sadistic dreamer with ideas of striking gold using his sister as his mule. Sary finds herself in a surreal nightmare…living under a tarp, panning for gold, and looked on lustfully by the debauched in the rough mountain goldmining outpost of Big Bear, California…all save a handsome and reckless traveling actor.
Her attack, the death of her brother in an abandoned mine shaft, the discovery of a gold vein as big as Texas, murder, surviving the hard scrabble land as winter comes and goes, she becomes a thing of legend and witchery; hunted as fair game and her baby stolen by a delusional grandfather. Stealing her own half-starved horse and guns blazing, Sary storms his saloon all cold fury, to reclaim the child she was not sure she wanted until then, barely escaping with her life…
Mortally wounded, tracked by Delacorte's hatchet men, Sary painfully recovers, making her escape, now rich beyond words, she decides it is time to return to Big Bear and exact her revenge in an ultimate showdown not seen since High Noon.
Sary—a bedraggled ribbon knotted in her hair, gripped a plate, as frozen as a knot on the log she was seated on.
"You’d sell me." She spoke in a flat, dead tone dashing the plate to the ground.
Seb, still intent on the dark knoll, nibbled a hangnail. "Wanting you real bad, Sare," he muttered over his shoulder. "Could do worse." He whirled and gave a sharp nod, his fist curled. "A lot worse."
"You could!" Sary shouted. "You’d be lording it over the poker table and holding up the bar! I can see it now!" She began pacing.
"More’n just a good poke, Sary," Seb whined, backing from her. "He wants you pure-like. Just for him." He hadn’t thought his sister would take on so. "Just for—"
Sary hurled the tin plate, banging Seb in the back of the head.
Seb threw up his arms to ward off more blows as Sary stormed about, pelting rocks as she went.
"Said you’d be a queen, Sary! Them exact words!"
"And what would that make you?" She demanded. "A court jester?"
The ground whirled beneath her feet—a sick feeling swelled up her neck like a snake coiled in her stomach, so enraged she could scarcely find breath to shriek. "You wouldn’t be—sleeping with him! He’s old, and yellow as lard! He stinks of death! Like something died and they forgot to bury it!"
A ghostly cough floats down from the knoll.
They both jerked intent on the dark above.
"Old and yellow I may be, Sarabande Swinford." The voice was dry, inflectionless, yet hard. "I’m waiting."
Sary searched the night, but then Julian entered the fitful light, all peaks and hollows, his ivory vest and yellow teeth gleaming like dead fish in the dark.
Sary could hear the swish of his silvery coat and the creak of his saddle as he picked his way down. She faltered back uneasily aware of a heavy perfume clogging the leaf-musked night for some time now… so that was it. That crazy old man drenched with cologne. She mustn’t hurt his feelings, stuttering, "I’m honored, Mister D-Delacorte. Truly. A—a man of your…stature." Her mind raced. "But Seb didn’t say—I’m under mourning." She said desperate.
Seb gripped her arm. He dragged her protesting to Julian. Sary looked up at the gaunt man high up on the horse. The face was inscrutable and old as the mountains.
"Mourning here lasts till bedtime." The voice grated in the night and Julian cantered down, leaned arthritically crookedly as if in pain, and reached for her, grasping her other arm, yanking her from Seb. "Take it up with kin," he barked harsh. "I bought you."
SARY'S GOLD Romance Historical
Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted March 29, 2015
Sarabande "Sary" Swinford is handed over to her brother Sebastian, following the death of her husband Jonathan. In 1897, Seb drags her to Big Bear, California to seek their fortune mining gold. He uses Sary like his mule. Delacorte's saloon houses hardened females working as prostitutes and is owned by Julian Delacorte and his grown son Jules. Hannah "Handi" McAdams offers Sary a job at her establishment, warning her of the hardships she will endure on the mountain searching for gold.
Nearly starving while Sary is doing most of the work, Seb strikes a deal to sell her to Julian to ease his own life. Refusing to succumb to the arrangement begins a chain of events giving Sary more abuse than she could imagine. Seb dies in an accident at the bottom of a mineshaft leaving Sary to cope with Julian's son and henchmen when she is brutally assaulted. The attack resulting in their death, leaves Sary forced to bury all three while keeping Jules death from his father. Finding gold in the mine excites her by continues her horrendous life of drudgery, work and starvation as she hides her treasure. All the while, fighting for her life changes this once innocent woman into being conceived by the townsfolk as somewhat of a legend and witchery. Barely able to exist on her own only results in strengthening this very independent and strong woman.
Prepare to enjoy your trip through the hard and tough days of the past with this brave and tough woman. SARY'S GOLD is full of action, all driven by the clever mind of this unusual and strong woman, learning to deal with the hand she's dealt. Written in the era of that day, Sharon Shipley very colorfully portrays the difficulties needed to survive and exist. The action in this story depicts the excitement of what we have all viewed in the movies of the West during the gold rush years.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sary's Gold ROCKS!
By Karen Cavanaugh on April 20, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
First let me preface this by saying this book requires something from the reader, ergo this book probably isn't for the "50 Shades Of Grey" crowd in that it is not your typical, effortlessly digestible drugstore novel, but I actually think that's a good thing. This story is told in a literary style, which in my opinion, is sadly missing in most modern day novels. No one would think to question the literary style of the classics which required the same kind of investment from their readers, and I think this book deserves that investment as well. The dialogue is written in the vernacular of the day (circa the gold rush era) & it took me about the first eight pages of the book to get into the groove, but once I did, I felt I was well rewarded. I was wholeheartedly transported in time and space to that era and could well imagine the characters and places coming to life as I read.
The story is quite the page turner, & is about a young woman suddenly widowed & thrust on the mercy of an unscrupulous & abusive brother. One thing this author really gets right is victim psychology because victims do not rise up against their oppressors so easily. It takes time and continued abuses for the proverbial pressure cooker to steam before exploding, & this writer gets that fact, for which I was most appreciative. Besides, women had so little choice then. It was practically unheard of for a young woman to strike out on her own, not to mention incredibly dangerous. I found myself getting very caught up in the action & rooting for the heroine at every turn. There were great setups & payoffs, and quite a few surprises along the way too.
My only criticism is that at times during a couple of the action sequences the writing gets a little choppy making it a little hard to follow, and my suspension of disbelief was strained on one or two occasions, yet events were not outside the realm of possibility either. That said, the pluses far outweigh the minuses in this novel & it's a terrific book comprised of great story telling & I highly recommend it!
5.0 out of 5 stars
By Indiana girls on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
SARY'S GOLD - What a ride! Sarabande Swinford is living a modest, Midwestern life when a tragic accident makes her a widow. From here on, Sary is thrown into all manner of misery, hardship and not a small amount of adventure.
Sary winds up in the California mining town of Big Bear in the 1880's - Still a frontier town, but with a new gloss of "culture." For many women of the time, a male relative or other chivalrous man would take Sary under their protection, but not so for Sary, who has a lazy, treacherous brother and evil attention from town.
We root for gutsy, determined Sary through all the grief to her victory, which makes for great reading. Author Sharon Shipley gives us a gift; her powers of description transport us magically in space and time. The Gold Rush era in the mountains of California comes alive, with all the grit, humor and excitement of the day. Archival photographs throughout add a rich dimension.
Let's hope there is more to come from this author.
Carol, San Diego, California
4.0 out of 5 stars Survival of a Mountain Girl
By Neal Hertzmannon October 3, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great-story of a very hardy mountain woman who continues on alone in her quest for gold and her kidnapped young son despite the hardships of the time and the perils of several vicious men who would do her harm.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sary
By Dominique on August 10, 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sary, Sharon Shipley's heroine is an example of the strong female character struggling alone in a man's world during the California gold rush era. Her story is an interesting account of her courage, and perseverance. One is eager to follow her journey to the last chapter.
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting
By Marge Kovener on July 8, 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is very exciting. I can't wait to see it on the big screen. Sharon is a very talented writer.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sary's Gold
By pakion June 12, 2012
This is a fast-paced story offered by a wordsmith of the first order. Even as you read, emotions are high or low depending on what is happening... as the story unfolds. Sary persists against huge odds and clever enemies. Her friends are varied, which makes the story interesting, and sometimes they are even helpful. You will want to know if she "makes it", or is broken by her harsh circumstances...but don't hurry to the end. A colorful, well-written saga from the old gold-rush days; Shipley has captured the essence of those times so very well.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
By Ed Sunshine on February 26, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition
A page turner from start to finish!! Surely there's got to be a sequel??!!