Blood and Silver is a young adult historical fiction story set in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880.
This is the story of twelve-year-old Clarissa, the daughter of a prostitute who is shown kindness by the town doctor, the sheriff and in particular the notorious China Mary, a lady who has eyes and ears everywhere.
Clarissa is desperate to get her mother away from the brothel and its dangerous owner. With help from China Mary, Clarissa gets a job in a new hotel where she can earn her own money. But danger is never far away and Clarissa must be brave and work hard to make a better future for herself and her mother.
I was intrigued by the setting and the storyline. The author provided a good mix of real life and fictional characters. The writing style tended towards ‘telling rather than showing’ which was a shame and in some areas the plot felt rather rushed and over simplified. However, I am aware that I’m not the target audience for this. Overall a good story, but the style of delivery needed a bit more tweaking for this to stand out for me.
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What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.
After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.
Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.
China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.
Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.
With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.