All Aboard for Paradise
All Aboard for Paradise spans two years, 1886-1888, in the history of the small California town of Los Angeles. In the opening pages we meet Claire, 34, and her teenage daughter, Joanne. Claire supports them by working at a small café in Westport, Missouri. Her friend, 25-year-old Randy Plank, loves her and wants them to go with him to California, described in brochures as “Paradise.” A fare war between the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads decides her fate. While buying tickets she meets handsome Harry Graham, a banker heading home to Chicago. Their paths are destined to cross again when Harry’s boss sends him to Los Angeles to open the California Security Bank.
Through a series of events – her job with a solicitor, the land boon, and her re-acquaintance with Harry Graham – Claire becomes a realtor. She does quite well until the boon becomes a bust and people leave Los Angeles in droves. She must decide whether to move on as well or try to help the town survive. She has the love of two good men, but does she really want to marry either of them and lose her hard-earned independence? She must also do what’s best for her strong-willed daughter.
Dee Marvine’s book is well researched, although the facts got in the way of the story at times. It provides a wide range of characters and an interesting glimpse into the history of the one of the most affluent cities in America today.