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Women played a critical role during the gold rush, and this is the only book that brings to light the stories of these diverse women. Backhouse delves into the lives of women-entrepreneurs, nuns, doctors, nurses, journalists, and dancehall entertainers among them-who were caught up in the gold rush and lived amazing lives. Through letters, journals, newspaper accounts, and personal interviews, Backhouse explores all of their untold stories.Some were reckless dreamers who headed north alone. Others were looking for fortunes, or husbands. Still others went to the Klondike to gain professional recognition. Many women found that conditions were vastly worse than they had expected-Lillian Oliver noted that scarcely a day passed during her trip to Dawson when she did not see a wooden cross marking the grave of a fellow traveller. Other women found success in the Klondike-Mrs. John N. Horne struck gold and commissioned a gold washboard broach in honour of the profession that had once supported her.
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Frances Backhouse is a full-time professional writer with a passion for Canadian history. Author of Hiking with Ghosts (Raincoast, 1999) as well as the bestselling Women of the Klondike, Frances also contributes to magazines such as British Columbia Magazine, Canadian Geographic, The Beaver, Canadian Living, and many others.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Eighteen-year-old Mabel Long had been married only six months when she and her husband—a man twenty years her senior who had been chosen for her by her parents—set off for the gold fields. What little affection she may have felt for Mr. Long completely vanished when their boat capsized on Lake Bennett and he watched helplessly while she floundered in the water. It was love at first sight, however, between Mabel and the man who did jump in and pull her to shore. The two soon managed to slip away from Mabel’s husband and head downriver. Mr. Long pursued them, but gave up the contest when he realized his young bride was determined to get a divorce and marry her rescuer.
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