Gold Rush Dream

Written by Naomi Stahl
Review by Steve Lewis

Under her real name, Billie Sue Mosiman, the author of this rather one-dimensional western romance novel has been nominated for a mystery award, the Edgar, and a horror fiction award, the Stoker. She brings her characters vividly to life in this, her latest effort, but as clearly drawn as they are, some only briefly, they only partially compensate for the lack of depth in the storyline.

The year is 1849. On page nine, a young trapper named Travis Caldwell rescues an even younger 17-year-old girl named Rose Donahue from the ashes of her family’s burnt-out homestead in East Texas. The question that occurred to me was, Is this a book for teenagers? The writing, in short and very understandable sentences, seemed primarily designed for younger minds.

On page 23, as Travis surreptitiously watches Rose while bathing, with particular emphasis on her breasts, the answer is, No, I guess not. As the pair make their way westward to California – note the title – the rating climbs higher accordingly, from PG, to PG-13, to a definite R – which of course is the standard of today in historical romance.

Following them almost all of the way is a crazed Indian brave who craves Rose as a bride, the basis for a lesson in Psychology 101, not to mention about 80% of the plot.