This is a novel with a traveling plot, and the protagonist, Dulcy Remfrey, is a traveling woman. As a wealthy teen girl finished with school and too young for college, she joined her father in his world travels to exploit the wealth found in mining: whether it was gold, copper, silver, or diamonds, her father had a genius for discovering and investing in the mines that would yield unimaginable wealth.
As Jamie Harrison’s novel, The Widow Nash, opens, an adult Dulcy is living in Manhattan with her beautiful sister, Carrie, and taking part in the lavish doings of high society. It is 1904, and the telephone is new, modern, and often the harbinger of bad news. So it turns out for Dulcy, who receives an urgent summons to Seattle to help with her aging father, seriously ill from a social disease which has caught up with him after seeking treatment for decades. But the real reason his business associates are demanding Dulcy’s presence is that there is a whole lot of money involved. Money that is missing, and nobody knows why.
This is a highly dramatic novel in which Dulcy must confront past events, untangle the present situation, and prevent ghosts from her family’s past from ruining her future. Dulcy’s solution to her problems is something we can only dream of in our current age of credit cards and photo ID.
The Widow Nash lives up to its title in that it is a somewhat dark novel in which death drives the events of the story. Walton Remfrey’s syphilis is so integral to the plot that it’s practically a character. I especially enjoyed the Western setting, the colorful and varied characters, and the family drama that propels the novel forward.
Other historical novels set in the mining world of the American West include:
Easy Pickings by Richard S. Wheeler
Glorious by Jeff Guinn
Hope: a Novel by Mary Ryan