Special Things

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book of the Day January 28

The Goldcamp Vampire by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Pelagia Harper, aka Valentine Lovelace, published her memoirs of her time in Draco, Texas and became an established writer—at least in her own mind. But when her father dies and her stepmother steals her royalties, she finds herself destitute. Also haunted. The ghost of her papa keeps popping up everywhere. When her father’s old flame, Sasha Devine, offers her a way out of her poverty, Pelagia jumps on it before she knows what’s involved. In 1897, the two ladies must travel North to the Klondike (the Wild West is a relative term as far as V. Lovelace is concerned) escorting the coffin of a man said to be Lost-Cause Lawson, a prospector.

It turns out the man beneath the coffin lid is not as dead as he was supposed to be and somehow, Pelagia ends up being accused of murdering a Mountie. Apparently the sensible solution to that is to fake her own suicide. The upshot is that when she finally does arrive in Dawson City with Sasha, she is obliged to take employment as a dance hall girl and a flamenco dancer (Corazon, the Belle of Barcelone). Her boss seems nice though. Very sociable, especially with all of his new female employees. It isn’t long before Pelagia learns that Vasily Vladovitch Bledinoff is giving the biting cold some competition. It isn’t until her friend Captain Lomax receives a new book from England, written by a fellow named Bram Stoker, that she begins to get a clue what exactly is going on with the mode for black velvet neck bands the girls are all sporting. Then there’s all of those really smart wolves, the threat of starvation and disease, and other strange and unusual wildlife.

This book is about what life was like for a female artiste in Dawson City as it was during the Gold Rush—when everyone was there to strike it rich—except for the vampires, who were there for the night life.

Word Count: 98,000
Pages to Print: 292
Price: $5.99

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Elizabeth Ann Scarborough said...

Thanks for the spotlight, Charlotte. In addition to the foolishness, this book is full of what it was like for females during the Klondike Gold Rush. I had a lot of fun researching it as I was still living in Fairbanks then and had access to the archives at the University library, reading the correspondence of people who lived and worked in the Yukon during that time, paying special attention to how women got on. I also took a trip to Dawson City at a time when the summer's tour guides were still there but the tourists weren't. These nice folks were as into the history as I was and knew all sorts of (literally) cool stuff and gave me a special tour of Dawson's most interesting sites with lots of insights that made it real for me.

Charlotte Holley said...

Very nice background info, Annie. Thanks for sharing that. I know it would be lovely to go to Dawson City and "explore" the history of the town and the times.