The Goldminer’s Sister has been on my list of most anticipated new releases for 2020 since I binged the previous Maiden’s Creek book – The Postmistress – in a single day and found out that Alison Stuart was working on another one. I finally read it at the start of last week, and was delighted to find that it was every bit as good as I had hoped!
1873. Eliza Penrose arrives in the gold mining town of Maiden’s Creek in search of her brother, planning to make a new life for herself. Instead she finds a tragic mystery – and hints of betrayals by those closest to her.
Mining engineer Alec McLeod left Scotland to escape the memory of his dead wife and child. Despite the best efforts of the eligible ladies of Maiden’s Creek, Alec is determined never to give his heart again.
As lies and deceit threaten Eliza’s life, Alec steps in – although he has problems of his own, as he risks his livelihood and those he holds dear to oppose the dangerous work practices at the Maiden’s Creek Mine.
When disaster draws the pieces of the puzzle together, Eliza and Alec must save each other – but is it too late?
Ok, first I just want to clarify that this isn’t exactly a sequel to The Postmistress – it is set in the same Victorian gold mining town of Maiden’s Creek (based on a real town called Walhalla) and we meet many of the same townspeople who were part of Adelaide and Caleb’s story, including Eliza’s brother Will Penrose, who has a pretty prominent role as Caleb’s friend in The Postmistress. The Goldminer’s Sister is set about 18 months after The Postmistress, so you will get a bit of an idea of how things ended up for characters, but nothing that I think would necessary make you enjoy either story less – it really does work as a stand alone story.
So, onto the review. I loved this. I’m not even quite sure I can put my finger on why (which I know doesn’t really make this the most helpful of reviews, does it?). I loved the characters – they felt like real people to me. The pacing was really spot on for me, both of the plot overall and of the way the relationship between Eliza and Alec developed. On the topic of their relationship, the focus is on them getting to know each other and growing closer, and it is relatively low on the steaminess (I know people do like to know the steam rating sometimes, since ‘romance’ can vary so much on this!).
The book switches between telling the story from Eliza’s and Alec’s perspectives – this is something I really like when it’s done well (as it was here), and I enjoyed the time I spent with both characters. Eliza was an excellent strong female lead character – I liked that this came partly from her having been well educated and supported by her family, and I loved that she stood up for both herself and others.
I think one of the things I have really appreciated about both of these books is that the disasters that happen (in The Postmistress there is a bushfire, and I don’t want to say what it is in this one because it feels more spoilery) feel really authentic to me, as do the characters’ responses to them. Something about Alison’s writing in both cases had me completely swept up in the drama, racing through the pages with my heart in my throat.
If you have checked out my review of The Postmistress you’ll see that I loved the fact that I had read it in the middle of a sweltering summer, which matched the setting of the book – and again this time I’ve managed to coordinate seasons with Maiden’s Creek, reading on some of our gloomy chilly days which worked to help transport me to the wintry weather Eliza and Alec were experiencing.
I’m not sure what else to say about this one! I am currently trying very hard not to be that person who gets in touch with an author the week after their book comes out to ask when the next one is coming haha. Luckily Alison has 10 more books in her backlist that I can check out while I wait =).
I’m recommending this one for anyone who is a fan of ‘Austorical fiction’, as well as anyone who hasn’t tried the genre yet but loves a gentle romance with authentic characters and a bit of drama – I think this would be a great place to start!
The Goldminer’s Sister by Alison Stuart
Out now from Harlequin Mira
Source: Free copy sent to me by Harlequin Mira (thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: Australian historical fiction romance
Format: Paperback (400 pages)
Australian RRP: $29.99