Friday, February 17, 2012
Book review: The Hidden Gold: A Marie-Grace Mystery by Sarah Masters Buckey
Eleven-year-old Marie-Grace Gardner and her father are travelling up the Mississippi River on a steamboat to visit his friends in Pennsylvania in the spring of 1854. Although she will miss her friends and family in New Orleans, Marie-Grace likes travelling on the elegant steamboat. Shortly after boarding the steamboat, Marie-Grace meets another girl her age, Wilhelmina Newman.
Wilhelmina came to New Orleans to find her dying father, who became sick while traveling home from the California Gold Rush. She arrived too late, and found that her father had already died. He was supposed to be bringing home gold that he found in California, and Wilhelmina desperately needs to find that gold, because her mother died while her father was away and her grandmother can't afford to keep Wilhelmina and her two younger brothers much longer. If she doesn't find the gold, her brothers will have to go live with other relatives. After losing her parents, Wilhelmina is determined that she and her siblings must not be separated. Marie-Grace wants to help her new friend, but where could the gold be? And is a fellow passenger also trying to find the gold, so he can steal it?
I enjoyed the original American Girls book series about Marie-Grace, so I was looking forward to reading this book. While I enjoyed it, I didn't like it quite as much as the main series, because the historical setting was not as interesting. However, despite being much older than the target audience, my guess for who the villain was turned out to be completely wrong! I think younger fans of the series would really enjoy this book, but for the older fans like me who have loved the series since childhood, this is probably not the most interesting of the books.