“How strange I didn’t know I loved her. Is it because we were one, and you can only love what is other?” Rose
“I’m not part of you. I am myself.” Lily
“You seek gold, but remember that the purest gold is God’s redeeming love.” Daniel
In 1866, Lily and Rose, beautiful, mischievous identical twins, aged fifteen, set out in a covered wagon to the Colorado Territory with their stern minister father, the Reverend Daniel Wright.
Lily and Rose have been as one since birth. Now they face identity crisis and loss as the challenges and attractions of their new life draw them apart.
Daniel, because of a sexual indiscretion, has been sent away from his prosperous Boston parish to minister to a new church in a mining settlement at the foot of the Rockies. Full of guilt about his own sexuality, he strives to repress his vibrant young daughters amidst the adventures of the overland trail and the wide open culture of the frontier.
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Words of Praise
“A widowed minister, fleeing the scandal of a forbidden affair, relocates from Massachusetts to Colorado with his teenage daughters in this historical novel set in the 1860s. In their elegant Boston home, 15-year-old identical twins Lily and Rose Wright eavesdrop on an astounding conversation and learn that their widowed father, the Rev. Daniel Wright, has impregnated Rachel Decker, a congregation member who’s married to a physically abusive man. … Starsong (Never Again, 2015, etc.) delivers an intense historical novel that effectively conveys the Wrights’ full flowering . . . Daniel, in particular, is a striking study of repressed desire . . . the author also manages to skillfully relate a number of other story arcs in addition to his, including the sisters’ individual awakenings and a sweet subplot involving a gentle carpenter and a young prostitute. A sweeping melodrama of the frontier.” —Kirkus Reviews, December 2016
“THE PUREST GOLD satisfies on many levels: as a sweeping historical adventure about crossing the United States in a covered wagon, as a series of interlocking love stories, and as a tender portrait of unusually intuitive twin sisters growing from adolescence into adulthood. I was captivated from page one with this story about shame, courage, and love, as a preacher and his young twin girls head West to start a new life and redeem the one they left behind.”—Judith Blackburn, Professor Emerita, Northern Kentucky University
“A compelling account of the perils of puritan piety set amidst the hazardous overland journey of a minister father and his twin daughters. We wonder throughout the story how the father will overcome his guilt, how the twins will survive their increasing separation, and what, if anything, can bring them back together again.”—F. Diane Pickett, award-winning author of Never Isn’t Long Enough
This is a delightful novel about an upscale Boston family of the 1860’s—a preacher disgraced by adultery and his teenage twin daughters. To begin life anew, they travel by covered wagon to a rough Colorado mining town. Starsong’s research into historical detail is both meticulous and wide-ranging, giving the tale a convincing stability in the actual circumstances of the time.—Roger Pierce, Ph.D., author of the novel Your Valvéd Voice and co-translator of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies.
PUREST GOLD is not just a title but a fitting description of this work of historical fiction by Heather Starsong. As the characters move west in the Gold Rush with all the plodding deliberation of a wagon train, they draw the reader into their lives and struggles to mature as human beings. This process is especially wrenching for one of the main characters, the Rev. Mr. Daniel Wright, as he learns through near-tragedy that Jesus’ Abba is diametrically different from the stern and loveless deity he had been taught to believe in and serve. A highly recommended, engaging, and ultimately consoling read. (Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Ph.D., author of Wisdom)