Okay, I've been a fan of Rae Carson for a LONG time. (see all her books here) I absolutely loved the Fire and Thorns series, and gobbled them right up as soon as they came out.
In spite of that, I put off reading WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER, just because I'm not usually a huge fan of Westerns in any form (growing up in California and then living in Montana will do that to you sometimes...they're so often glorifying parts of the West that don't ring true to me). When I read it last year, I realized how dumb that had been. It was wonderful. Mostly a story of the pioneer trail west, but with wonderful characters and twists, and a lovely magical element that lay just under the surface (like gold!) but spoke to me.
And then I got busy with *waves hand* everything last year, and didn't follow up with the sequels. Last week I picked up LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS.
Man, oh man, does this woman know how to tell a story. I always feel, when I'm reading one of her books, like I'm in excellent hands--like she knows just what she's doing, and won't mess it up. And she fulfills that! This book was so exciting for me because it's mostly set in Gold Country in California, which is precisely where I grew up. I recognized this! I knew the history (some), I'd seen the hills and creeks that were picked over in the gold rush, and I went into Sacramento all the time as a kid. More, my family was there--I'm a fourth-generation Californian, and much of the fun stuff was in the gold rush and after. It was RIGHT! It felt spot on!
AND the story and characters and suspense pulled me right along.
Well done, Rae, again. You can bet I won't take as long to read the third one.