Crown of Dust

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HarperCollins Publishers, Aug 20, 2009 - Fiction - 448 pages
1 Review

A powerful story of friendship, love and betrayal, from a fantastic new voice.

In a high mountain valley, a group of disparate characters have set up a rudimentary community, held together by the formidable Emaline, hostess of the wayside inn. It is there that Alex, on the run from something, concealed under a false identity, finds refuge but that arrival brings dramatic change to Motherlode.

In the small settlement, no one asks questions about where you have come from or who you are. They all know each other's virtues and vices: the rules are few and their own justice swift, an Eden of a sort. But then Alex, who has discovered fellowship for the first time, finds a large gold nugget and with that one lucky strike, gold fever hits, everyone becomes a gold digger and outsiders of all kinds pour in. Houses, stores and streets replace the tents and mud paths. Wives, preachers, lawmen come to town and try to impose their order, their form of society on what they perceive as a lawless, godless community...and the past catches up with Alex.

So will the community betray their Golden Boy? Will Alex's true identity be discovered? Will the prejudice now present in the town be able to destroy Emaline and the rich spirit of her inn? Can Motherlode survive its gold rush?

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wascanalib - LibraryThing

Volmer has great descriptive powers and easily paints a picture of the California Gold Rush, with only the very last page appearing somewhat trite and predictable. Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A girl posing as a boy finds a nugget and sets off a gold rush, with mixed results for the mid-19th-century town of Motherlode, Calif.When Alex arrives, fleeing some unspecified trouble in San ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Mary Volmer was born in Grass Valley, California and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a BA from Saint Mary's College, California, before completing a Masters degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth as a Rotary Scholar. She is currently the Agnes Butler Scholar at Saint Mary's College where she is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and lecturing in English/ Composition. This is her first novel.

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