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Kalifornische Sinfonie

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  2,334 Ratings  ·  278 Reviews
The history of California in the mid-19th century comes alive in this captivating historical novel. Garnet Cameron, a fashionable young lady of New York, is leading a neat, proper life, full of elegant parties and polite young men, yet the prospect of actually marrying any of them appalls her. Yearning for adventure, she instead marries Oliver Hale, a wild trader who is ab ...more
Leather Bound, Lizenzausgabe, 702 pages
Published 1956 by Bertelsmann (first published 1950)
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Bon Shoemaker I read this book as a young teen and would recommend it for a young reader today. Yes, there is a little bit of swearing - but nothing like what is…moreI read this book as a young teen and would recommend it for a young reader today. Yes, there is a little bit of swearing - but nothing like what is heard on TV or the radio today. The story is one of survival and hope. How women can be strong as men and make an invaluable contribution to the mission. Still love this book and re-read every couple of years.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 20, 2008 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was going to be like many of my grandmother's old books: a cheesy romance novel from the first half of the last century. They're always amusing books because the"romance" part is so mild compared to today's books, and the proper behavior of "ladies" is so hilarious by our standards (a lot of nastiness couched in polite language).
But while this book had the romance thing going on, it also was quite a history lesson! I spent all day finishing the 2nd half without putting it dow
Naomi Sarah
Feb 15, 2016 Naomi Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AHHHH. MY STARS AND STOCKINGS. This book is like a tornado. Or whatever. It BLOWS AND BREAKS you to pieces - it's terrifying and VIVID and crumples up your innerness in the gorgeousness and vividness. (Am I even making the remotest sense?!!! Don't blame me. I just finished a book that is gold and silver and bronze and everything.) This book is amazing.

Gwen Bristow, you are my favourite new author. The way you WRITE Ma'am is inDECENTLY amazing.
1. I seriously cringed my HEAD off and said 'ow'
Apr 20, 2015 Tweety rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially those who like characters real-to-life
Recommended to Tweety by: Misfit
As pretty much everyone can see from my billions of updates on Jubilee Trail I hands down loved it. The story was so simply put over that you never felt like the author was trying to impress you with her knowledge of the times. But I felt like I was there every minute of the way with Garnet.

In New York Garnet felt like she was a doll wrapped in tissue paper and set in the closet for safety, but the closeness stifled her. When she met Oliver, he represented everything she didn't have, adventure,
Kate Quinn
Oct 18, 2009 Kate Quinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the first adult historical fiction books I ever read, and a book that still fascinates me. Gwen Bristow is not a well-known writer of historical fiction, but she deserves to be: her characters are interesting and flawed, her settings are meticulously researched, and her writing style is as clear as a pane of glass. Jubilee Trail is the best of her books, centered around the two-tiered society of California as it was just before the Gold Rush, where proud Spanish rancheros existed side by ...more
Feb 09, 2008 Joselle173 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Are you serious? This is horrible, horrible, horrible! This book pretty much lost me when they helped their friend escape from the hotel in New Orleans. Let me suspend any intelligence I might have and just believe that their plan might have worked. And on the trail to what was it - Arizona?? No Indian attacks along the way? No problems dealing with, hmmmm, womanly issues on the trail? She doesn't get pregnant? It was UNrealistic every step of the incredibly long way. I gave up before GARNET eve ...more
Aug 03, 2016 Rosie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book five stars, even though it has a great deal of language and what the movie people term 'content not suitable for children.' Just the way it was written it so wonderful, and the characters are SO POWERFUL and GRIPPING.

Garnet is a great main character, curious and pretty and naive and clever all at once. I'm afraid I did not like Oliver AT ALL, but I did like John a fair bit. The Colonel, in my opinion, was the nicest of the three, though . . . My favorite was Florinda. She ha
Miss Garnet Cameron has just finished at her fashionable young ladies' academy and now she's expected to marry someone in her New York Society social circle, for it's 1844 and that is all young ladies like garnet are expected to do. Yet, Garnet wants so much more. She wonders at the gaudily decorated theater she sees well-dressed people go into; she wonders what's out there besides New York and longs for adventure. When a prominent local merchant is murdered, it sets off a chain of events that w ...more
Jul 01, 2013 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2013
Talk about destiny! I had just read a book by Sandra Dallas and Nancy Turner so to pick up "Jubilee Trail" and see that both of these ladies had written a foreword, just seemed meant to be.

What a story. I felt like it was a fantastic history lesson. Florinda and Garnet were two of the most interesting characters I've met up with in a long time. I loved Florinda and found her complex, lacking and wonderful all at the same time.

291: She understood why John loved the earth. The rocks and mountain
This is the story of just out of finishing school Garnet, who meets and falls in love with Oliver Hale while he's visiting New York from California. Garnet has an adventurous spirit that Oliver indulges and they're off to California via the Jubilee Trail. Along the way they meet up with Florinda, the "bad" woman with a heart of gold and Garnet and Florinda become great friends, and support each other during the good and bad times as they cross the country and come to California before it is gove ...more
Dec 30, 2008 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I totally loved the language in this book. “Hell for breakfast!” was used all the time instead of “dang it!” Maybe back in the 1840s the words ‘dang it’ hadn’t been invented. I wish we still used ‘hell for breakfast’. But, I must go on with my review. Oh hell for breakfast!

Another thing I liked about this book: no one else in Weber County wants to read it so I was able to renew it about 32 times. That was handy. This book was first published in 1950, so I think most of the people who have heard
Jul 09, 2011 Janice marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
By Amberly:

Jubilee Trail is a great story, the writing itself is not especially incredible but the story is incredible. I should mention it felt a little cheesy to me at first - very prim and proper and some other quality I'm not sure how to describe. Once I got a little ways into the book and was used to the writing style it didn't feel cheesy anymore. I did not have a lot of time to read when I started this book. As I moved further through the story I found it harder and harder to put it down.
Mar 23, 2012 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had such a fun time reading Jubilee Trail and found myself savoring every word. It was written in the 1950's and it is quite obvious from the writing style, but I found that it added to the charm. It just "felt" old fashioned to it's core. The character's were beautifully written with so many layers, and I found myself in love with so many of them. Or hating them passionately...depending. There were so many individual and deeply personal stories interwoven in this book that will stay with me f ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book to grab you and not let go but one that sort of seeps into your consciousness and sort of settles in. It didn't always feel like a 4 star read but as it came together at the end I knew it was a good read. It definitely gives you the feeling of what it was like at that time with the sparseness of California, the roughness of living on the trail and the political flavor of the times. But it's more than that, it's about friendship and brave souls. I think Gwen Bristow set this on ...more
Mar 03, 2011 Amberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I read These Is My Words (and the two books that followed) I went looking for more books by Nancy E. Turner. One busy day while ordering some books from amazon I typed in Nancy's name and this book pulled up so I stuck it in the cart and placed my order. When the order arrived I was very surprised to see this book, whose forewards are written by Nancy E. Turner and Sandra Dallas, was authored by someone I was unfamiliar with. So onto the shelf it went for someday when I didn't have a book ...more
My friends and I all passed this book around in high school, and a few years ago I was lucky enough to find a copy at a library book sale (prior to this 2006 edition). This is a great book about the settlement of California, from the eyes of a young woman raised in New York society. Longing for adventure, Garnet marries a man she barely knows, wooed by his stories of magical California, a land that isn't even on the map yet. But the path to California is hard, and Garnet encounters many unpleasa ...more
Rebecca Huston
This turned out to be quite an adventure, and very much an improvement on most of the historical fiction/romance being churned out to day about the American West. The characters are not dull at all, the descriptions vivid, and the history great fun to read without being boring. Those looking for the over-the-top sex should look elsewhere; this book doesn't need such cheap tricks to keep it moving. Very much recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:
Aug 30, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high school and up
Recommended to Laura by: Rebecca Archibald
Shelves: 2015
I LOVE Gwen Bristow's novels! This book I especially loved because it takes place at the time when California became a state; so the history is really interesting. The characters are unpredictable and flawed but very endearing. Bristow has succeeded in writing a masterful tale about perseverance and hard work and love and redemption.

Perseverance - Garnet has just completed a grueling trek to California and has this thought at the end of the trail: p 228
"Standing there, she put her head down on
May 02, 2016 Kayli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's weird that I don't love this book more, because I actually think the storyline was great and the characters were great and I 100% approve of the love story, but somehow the writing style just wasn't that compelling to me. Compelling enough to get me to read 560 pages though, so I don't know exactly how to explain it, I just know that in my opinion the writing wasn't high-caliber enough for me to want to own this book or re-read it. But it was enjoyable and worth reading the one time.
Jul 15, 2015 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gwen Bristow knows has to write about women. She gets us. Garnet and Florinda aren't anything like each other and yet they are true friends who stand by and help one another through whatever comes. They don't completely understand each other, but they value the differences they see in one another. As life gives them hard times, they both face it with grit and determination. My favorite quote from the book comes from Garnet, "She had thought freedom meant simply the chance to have her own way, wi ...more
Sep 28, 2014 Zora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Edna Ferber
Recommended to Zora by: goodreads list
I really liked this 1950 novel about a proper New York girl longing for adventure mid-19th Century, getting married, and taking a trek with her new husband along a wagon trail to the nation of California--which wasn't even on the globes out east yet--where further adventures await her. In style, it's of its era, and I mean that as a complement. (Would that the average popular novel today were written this well, or as well as Mary Stewart's Gothics. But the "middlebrow" novel disappeared in about ...more
Jul 13, 2015 Adrianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. It was extremely detailed, which made for long reading, but I don't think I would have wanted it pared down at all. The lengthy telling provided fascinating insights to pioneer life on the Jubilee Trail and emotionally connected the reader to the characters in a very vivid way. I felt all of Garnet's emotions as my own- my heart ached with her, I felt disappointment, grief, fear, her wonder at the beauteous landscapes, her yearning, and her jubilation and thrill.
The unlikely f
Aug 15, 2016 Abigail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My dear friend lent me this book. I have to confess that the first ninety pages felt slow to me, but I am sssooooo happy that I kept reading. The story builds and then slows a little and then out of nowhere it punches you in the face with a plot twist that you never expected. Once I became emotionally invested in the characters - who, in completely different ways are rich, complex, and therefore, endearing - I couldn't stop reading. Even when I really needed to. I can't say just how much I enjoy ...more
Gwen Bristow was and is one of the best authors of historical fiction. She knew how do it and he did it marvelous. One may think you take some interesting historical background and some more or less original fictional story and you end up with a good historical fiction. No. It isn't definitely enough. Every great writer of this genre has own style, own recipe. And of course Bristow had also.

Her books (I have read three her novels) are rich with historical facts but in the way that you don't feel
Oct 19, 2013 LemonLinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 1950 but it is truly a timeless piece of Western historical fiction. Garnet, a New York socialite meets and marries a western trader/ranchero and travels with him on the Santa Fe Trail to California. It is a tough go, but she meets all challenges head first as she is a true pioneer at heart, always trying to make the best of her circumstances. She meets a showgirl on their stopover in New Orleans and fate intervenes so that they travel the trail together and in the int ...more
Melissa T
Jun 01, 2013 Melissa T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dearly loved this book. I loved traveling across the Jubilee Trail (and farther) with these characters, and was so sorry to see the book end! I felt like it was unpredictable, and although I was surprised by the turn of events, I really liked it as I went along. Somehow it seemed more true to life than many "romances". I loved the friendship between these two women, despite their entirely different upbringings. I also really enjoyed the writing style--when I read it I could tell is wasn't writ ...more
Mar 12, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book that grabs you from the very beginning and never lets up for all of its 536 pages.
Garnet, raised in New York society insists on marrying a trader from California (back in thethe Los Angles area on the Jubilee Trail. In New Orleans they meet Florinda, a dance hall girl and save her from a deputy that's chasing her. They meet up with her again in Santa Fe and she joins the trail to California.
So many thing happen I can't begin to cover them but the book provides an excellent histo
Apr 04, 2016 Maura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I had read Calico Palace and Celia Garth. This is along those same lines, being a historical novel set in turbulent times, in this case, California just before the Gold Rush. I didn't know much about California in this time period beyond bare bones grade school history, so the descriptions of Los Angeles as a tiny, dirty settlement of adobe huts was surprising. And thinking of California as a foreign land was a jolt, but it was part of Mexico at the time, and so isolated from the US th ...more
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This is a great historical fiction novel. While I have read better, this book accomplishes everything the author sets out to do. It's really a coming-of-age story, as Garnet slowly realizes that her husband is not perfect, that even "soiled doves" can be good people, and that her true soul mate just might be a man who doesn't believe in love.

While I really enjoyed this book, it definitely has its weaknesses. Bristow wrote Jubilee Trail in the 50s, and at times it seems a bit dated in terms of ph
I am very glad that this is the first book I have finished in 2015. I am not familiar with American History and I cannot comment on the historical background except by feeling that Indians were not justly described. But it was a very enjoyable book and one that I am sure I will reread soon.
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American author and journalist. She studied at Columbia University and afterwards wrote for a number of literary magazines and journals. Eventually she moved to New Orleans, and worked at the Times-Picayune. She became interested in longer forms of writing—novels and short stories—through her husband, screenwriter Bruce Manning, and published her first novel in 1929.

Bristow reached the pinnacle o
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“Life let you have what you wanted. But life was like a storekeeper who put up a sign saying “Buy now, pay later,” and tempted you into buying so much that you were in debt for years” 2 likes
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