The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates
In The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates, Frieda Goldson arrives at the Arizona-Sonora border town of Dos Cacahuates (Two Peanuts) with her new husband. She and Benny dream of developing a gateway to the west, but the oppressive heat, strange food, natural disasters, and eccentric neighbors, leave Frieda feeling lonely for San Francisco. She adapts as best she can, substituting tortillas for matzoh during a Passover seder, starting her own restaurant named “The First Lady,” and once again finding herself working day and night while Benny travels the Territory in search of business prospects. Over time Frieda adjusts, makes friends, and finds strength where she once thought there was none.
Best known for her social history Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West, Harriet Rochlin has incorporated her meticulous research into this wonderful series of novels. Torn between family and freedom, tradition and individualism, Frieda Levie Goldson draws us into her tumultuous world. The lively characters that inhabit Frieda’s world keep us guessing as to what trouble they will tumble into next. Painted against the backdrop of old San Francisco and sun-bleached Dos Cacahuates with such precise detail, a reader could easily feel caught up in the history that built the American West.