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Isthmus: A Novel

(Widow Walk Saga #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  22 reviews
It is 1860 and revolution is erupting throughout the world over universal emancipation. Civil war looms in the Unites States. In the midst of it all, a young woman is moving back to Boston with what is left of her family, devastated and bankrupted by savage, tragic events that occurred less than a year ago in the Pacific Northwest. They traverse a hostile terrain on the ne ...more
Kindle Edition, 309 pages
Published December 25th 2014 by Avasta Press
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Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Isthmus” is a gripping, lucid grassroots story of the times set in in the 1800's. LaSelle declines the strict use of great battles and big men as its fulcrum, opting instead for a look at the people of these times, creating an absorbing social history. In the tradition Gerald LaSalle has produced a book that is a work of both history and literature, a deep, rich, and complex analysis of the people and period surrounding the Isthmus of Panama, the gold rush, and the years before the American Civ ...more
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Isthmus is the second book in what appears to be an on-going series. The family from the previous book, Widow Walk, is heading back to the East Coast after surviving a devastating tragedy in their attempt to make a home in the rugged and untamed Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, their trip home is not the restful, quiet one they deserve.

As in his first book, Mr. Lasalle's descriptions are wonderful. I had no problem immersing myself in the story and getting lost there. The characters are well-de
 Reading Reindeer

In this second novel in the WIDOW WALK series, a family rocked to its core by tribulations in the Pacific Northwest, proceed to return to more peaceful Boston. It is 1860, and the steam of events eventually to commence war the next year has already begun to stir tendrils in the political and economic situations of the relatively young nation. The Panama Canal will not be constructed for another 54 years, but the Isthmus Railway is popular and going strong--if not necessarily safel
Rose Marie Peterson
Thrilling jungle adventure

This is the second book of a trilogy. The 1st book taking place in the Pacific northwest, this second book in the area of the current Panama Canal what was or is known as the Isthmus. The main characters Emily Evers, her children and a Pacific NW native, JoJo travel through on the Panama train on their way to Boston in the U.S.
Traveling with them are assortment of characters, miners from the gold fields of California, visitors from the East returning home, an Italian e
Monica Millane
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in continuing Emmy's adventure but it was hard to see her getting all banged up again. She is such a "beautiful" woman according to both Widow Walk books, it's hard to read all that happens to her and her kids. I am looking forward to the 3rd book as I am a Civil War buff and am interested to see just how accurate they depict the war in Virginia. Only gave 4 stars cuz of the violence on Emmy and children.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a continuations of the first book, 'Widow Walk'. Emma, and her two children got on a train going to New Orleans with an assistant to help her.

While traveling a revolution started, the trains wrecked. Some of the men grabbed Emma, the children ran to the woods to hide. Everyone scattered and was yelling, they had to ride mules, walk or ride horses. Every place Emma went she was looking for her children. Hundreds of people died, or were injured.

This was a rough book to read, raw charac
Daniel Cooksey
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3/4 of the way into this book I was fully prepared to give it 5 stars, but the ending felt rushed and left the fates of several POV characters unresolved. Overall though it is a masterful character study of flawed people.
Stan Hobbs
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read

A sequel worth reading although I found i did not know the names of the settlements along the rail route dealing with the Panama Canal history , I enjoyed this excellent story dealing with the people & survival .

Too much evil for me to sleep well after reading and so sad Emmy has to endure such pain again.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish . Plot dragged . Historical facts interesting but tired of waiting for things to happen
Rita K McCall
Historical Novel

I didn't find Isthmus as good a book as Widow Walk. This novel seemed to drag somewhat. The history in it was all new to me which was interesting.
Jalynn Patterson
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
About the Book:
It is 1860 and revolution is erupting throughout the world over universal emancipation. Civil war looms in the Unites States. In the midst of it all, a young woman is moving back to Boston with what is left of her family, devastated and bankrupted by savage, tragic events that occurred less than a year ago in the Pacific Northwest. They traverse a hostile terrain on the new Panama isthmus railroad, the most modern transportation in the world. From inside their coach they watch the
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
“Isthmus” by Gerard Lasalle is a novel set in Panama in the middle of the 19th century. Shipping and travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific was made more available with the building of the Panama Railroad in 1855. Even though the route was made easier travelling by train, the trip was still extremely dangerous because of marauding, murderous bandits. Until the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, the railroad was the most profitable investment opportunity ever.

This novel deals with the Panama Ra
Bill Thibadeau
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is historical fiction regarding the Isthmus of Panama post the cross country train and pre-canal, It is a rough and tumble time. Thje basis of the story is real as are many of the primary characters,

/I have read book One of the Widow Walk Saga o I was very happy to have an opportunity to read this book. I really appreciate the writing style of this author but not all readers will be so enthusiastic. If you read books for continuous instant gratification, this book is not for you. The
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Moving forward a few years from Widow Walk, Emmy is leaving the tragic events and struggle behind and heading back to family in Boston. Traveling via rail along the Panama Isthmus railroad, we are again treated to a story rich in depth and complexity. It is a time of great change and tumult: just before the start of the U.S. Civil War, social, political and mercenary elements are in play.

As in Widow Walk, LaSalle mixes actual figures into the story, giving their perspective and history: Garibald
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was provided with a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. I settled down on a long haul flight to read and was unable to put Isthmus down.

Isthmus is the second novel in the Widow Walk series. This story tells of the widowed Emmy Evers and her children after they the Pacific Northwest. They plan to travel to Boston via train from Panama (Isthmus) but as all good saga’s go, Emmy and her children face a number of difficulties during their journey – Dengue Fever and other illnesse
Rebekka Steg
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Isthmus by Gerard LaSalle is the second book in The Widow Walk Saga, taking place along the Isthmus rail ride across the Panama. Overall I quite enjoyed it, it's full of interesting and fascinating characters - my biggest criticism is probably that there were too many characters that you follow in depth. It's hard to get to care about each character, when you're constantly switching from one to the next. This made it hard to get into, but by the end it all came together and became really enjoyab ...more
Kasey Cocoa
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Before you read this you might want to pick up the first book in the series, Widow Walk. Isthmus is the second in the series and shows the growth of LaSalle's writing style. The read is smooth and intriguing with plenty of historical research bringing the time period to life. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and easy to connect with and read about. The story is elegant in form and a very solid example of a well constructed historical fiction novel. I received an ARC through Smith Publi ...more
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The cast of characters is large and diverse. The reader is invited into each of their thoughts, backgrounds and character traits. Now character is, in my mind, a "supporting" role. The author creates a landscape and a character list that is richly drawn, but still leaves the reader wanting more.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really should be 4.5, a very riveting story.
Amy Hietapelto
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. I need to read the third and last in the series my primary complaint is that the plot leaves a lot of loose ends with the characters.needs to be another 100 pages longer!!
Betty Reynolds
A must read book! This is a tense adventure like no other! It also portrays what people of the time were like-what they thought and wanted from life, so it is an adventure into the past.
RV Stevenson
rated it liked it
Jan 26, 2020
K Israel
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Feb 04, 2019
Maureen MacKinnon
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Jan 16, 2018
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Jun 03, 2019
Susie Krause
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May 06, 2019
Sue Rice
rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2020
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Nov 21, 2017
rated it it was ok
Jun 06, 2020
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Born in Seattle, Gar LaSalle writes from his home in Seattle and his studio on Maury Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

Other books in the series

Widow Walk Saga (3 books)
  • Widow Walk (Widow Walk Saga Book 1)
  • The Fairness of Beasts (Widow Walk Saga Book 3)

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