Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)'s Reviews > Pursuing Gold: A Novel of the Civil War

Pursuing Gold by Cynthia L. Simmons
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The United States Civil War is one of my favorite historical eras to read about – both in fiction as well as nonfiction. Usually books written about this time period are set in Atlanta or Nashville or somewhere in Virginia or Pennsylvania. Pursuing Gold is – if my memory is correct – the first book I’ve read set in Chattanooga during the Civil War, and I found this aspect of the story – and thus, its ability to stand out from the multitudes – to be the most intriguing part of the book.

Peter and Mary Beth have been friends for years, and as her father’s health rapidly declines Peter becomes even more protective of her. Their courtship is sweet and sincere, though there’s not a lot of chemistry/emotion between them. Along with Mary Beth’s father, Peter is my favorite character in the novel. He has a lot on his shoulders but handles it with dignity and wisdom as well as grace. Mary Beth is, like their relationship, sweet and sincere but there didn’t seem to be as much depth to her as I would have liked. She does experience character growth as the book progresses though.

As for the more dastardly characters in Pursuing Gold, I figured out most of the ‘who’ in the mystery subplot fairly early on (though I was still surprised by the rest!) but I couldn’t predict the ‘why’ until it was revealed over the natural course of the novel. A nicely-plotted mystery element. Some of the other characters though, notably Peter’s mother and sister, I just couldn’t connect with. Anna Chandler (Peter’s mother) comes across as flaky … until she decides not to be. And his sister is much the same way, only more difficult.

Bottom Line: I have mixed feelings about Pursuing Gold. On the one hand, I found the history element and unique setting to be very intriguing, as well as the plot angle of the counterfeiting Confederate bills. On the other hand, I had a difficult time connecting with the characters and felt the story itself could have used tightening up. It’s a sweet story in many ways; it just didn’t hold my interest.

Side Note: There were quite a few editing issues, too, and while I don’t normally mention those when reviewing advanced copies I’m pretty sure this was a final copy – and they were very distracting. Things like misplaced punctuation that made sentences confusing; missing words; phrases or statements that seemed out of place or made you think you’re missing something (it took me forever to figure out what Dr. Smith had to do with one of Peter and Mr. Roper’s conversations about the counterfeiters); plot points that don’t make sense (McDonald “delivering” Mary Beth’s letter to her is one I still don’t understand). This doesn’t affect my rating but in the interest of a full review I felt it needed to be mentioned.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)

See my full review at Reading Is My SuperPower
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Reading Progress

December 2, 2016 – Started Reading
December 2, 2016 – Shelved
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: 1800s
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: blog-reviewed
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: civil-war
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: historical
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: southern-fiction
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: owned-print
December 2, 2016 – Finished Reading

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