Letters from the Corrugated Castle: A Novel of Gold Rush California, 1850-1852

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9780689870781: Letters from the Corrugated Castle: A Novel of Gold Rush California, 1850-1852

Dear Cousin Sallie,
I begin with words I never thought to write:
I am not an orphan!


Thirteen-year-old Eldora has always believed that her mother died when she was very little, and for nine years she has lived with people that she calls Aunt and Uncle. The year is 1850, and all three have exchanged their quiet lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts, for new ones in San Francisco, the rapidly growing city that is the heart of the California Gold Rush. Shortly after their arrival, they receive a letter from an unknown woman who believes she is Eldora's mother. She is eager to meet her long-lost daughter, and a visit is arranged. As Eldora deals with her conflicting feelings about this news, she must also adjust to the challenges -- and dangers -- of living in a brash and growing city. She finds herself teaching English to two Mexicano children and beginning to learn Spanish, and an unlikely friendship with a boy named Luke introduces her to the hard, sometimes humorous, and often violent world of the mining camps. Every day seems to bring something different and new to consider. But can Eldora discover where -- and to whom -- she belongs?

Told in letters that ring with the voice of the times, Letters from the Corrugated Castle is an intriguing adventure set in a fascinating time in California's history -- a worthy conclusion to the geographical trilogy begun with A Gathering of Days, winner of the Newbery Medal, and Brothers of the Heart.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5–8—Thirteen-year-old Eldora, who has recently moved to California with her adoptive aunt and uncle, has just discovered that, contrary to her belief, she is not an orphan; she has a mother residing nearby. As she awaits the woman's arrival, she writes a series of letters to her cousin Sallie in New Bedford, MA, that describe life in boomtown San Francisco, the helter-skelter development, the excitement in the mining camps, illness, and the ever-present danger of fire. When her mother finally appears, Eldora makes the decision to leave her aunt and uncle and go with her to San Pedro. Although the teen imagines that she will live like a princess with her well-to-do mother, such is not the case as more letters to her friend Luke and her aunt and uncle reveal. Eldora changes from a girl trying to live up to adult standards into a young woman who can stand up for her principles. The language is true to the times and the plot has significant twists and turns, but the pacing is sedate. By incorporating a wide range of historical facts through letters and through the articles that Luke's journalist father sends back to his newspaper in Michigan, the author has created a stately, sweeping epic novel. The book abounds in curriculum connections and is suitable for reading aloud.—Kathryn Kosiorek, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Set in 1850s California, the fourth historical novel by Blos starts off with a contrivance: 13-year-old Eldora, having moved to San Francisco with her loving guardians, is rediscovered by her long-presumed-dead mother, who turns out to be a wealthy businesswoman. Their reunion strains credibility, but what Blos makes of it is so compelling that it's hard to object. As in Blos' Newbery Medal book, A Gathering of Days (1980),ith which this book shares a few characters, Eldora's story unfolds in dated installments, mostly correspondence, and overlaps with that of Luke, a visitor caught up in gold-rush furor. Their letters, not always to each other, flesh out Eldora's questions about her elegant new life with her kind but overextended mother and Luke's grief over the prejudice-fueled murder of a Mexican friend. Though occasionally too purposeful, details of the setting--from pastoral ranchos to the corrugated-iron "castle" of the title--will be especially welcomed by California teachers seeking engaging fiction to extend state-history units. But it is Blos' sturdy characters, whose experiences reveal the complexity of human relationships and wisdom about "the salt and the sweet of life," who will make this last. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Dear Cousin Sallie, I begin with words I never thought to write: I am not an orphan! Thirteen-year-old Eldora has always believed that her mother died when she was very little, and for nine years she has lived with people that she calls Aunt and Uncle. The year is 1850, and all three have exchanged their quiet lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts, for new ones in San Francisco, the rapidly growing city that is the heart of the California Gold Rush. Shortly after their arrival, they receive a letter from an unknown woman who believes she is Eldora s mother. She is eager to meet her long-lost daughter, and a visit is arranged. As Eldora deals with her conflicting feelings about this news, she must also adjust to the challenges -- and dangers -- of living in a brash and growing city. She finds herself teaching English to two Mexicano children and beginning to learn Spanish, and an unlikely friendship with a boy named Luke introduces her to the hard, sometimes humorous, and often violent world of the mining camps. Every day seems to bring something different and new to consider. But can Eldora discover where -- and to whom -- she belongs? Told in letters that ring with the voice of the times, Letters from the Corrugated Castle is an intriguing adventure set in a fascinating time in California s history -- a worthy conclusion to the geographical trilogy begun with A Gathering of Days, winner of the Newbery Medal, and Brothers of the Heart. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780689870781

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