I remember reading a review for my novel IN THE LAND OF GOLD once that stated that a woman couldn’t have made it up the Klondike trail during the gold rush—especially living through the unbelievable and harsh conditions that I unrealistically created for my character. Women just didn’t do those types of things back then.
I gotta say, that review actually made me laugh.
Not only did I use actual events that happened to people back then as events in my novel (more on that at a later date), but apparently, this reviewer doesn’t know about women like Kathleen Rockwell (best known as “Klondike Kate”), Mollie Brackett, Kate Carmack, Belinda Mulrooney, Ethel Bush Berry, Mary Evelyn Hitchcock, Edith Van Buren, and Marie Riedeselle, just to name a few.
These women not only trekked the Klondike trail, but they mined for gold, owned hotels and restaurants, wrote novels, as well as built several other businesses, both alone and with their husbands.
Say what? Women actually lived and worked up in the Klondike?
Yes, they did. And it wasn’t just the ones I named. History is full of wives who followed their husbands up the trail, some of them finding out they were pregnant along the way, or some even giving birth in the trees and campsites, and others who dragged their already born children along with them, children that ranged in ages from a few months to several years. These women shared the same harsh living and working conditions, overcoming the sam hardships. They hiked the Chilkoot Trail. They prepared food over fires. They all faced sub-zero temperatures, sleeping in wool blankets or animal hides with only a layer of spruce boughs between them and the frozen ground.
And it wasn’t just the married women who did this.
Single women, both alone and with friends also made the journey. Most for the gold, wanting to make their own way and their own money in life. Women who didn’t want to live by the rules a man gave them. Some even did so because they were widowed and wanted the adventure.
Stories about these women are often ignored, and most of the ones that are told, were either about dance-hall girls, prostitutes, or nuns. Unfortunately, because of this, we have missed countless accounts from the women themselves. Stories of how some faced difficulties that the men didn’t like hiking in high-heeled boots, corsets, bloomers, ankle-length skirts, blouses, and jackets. Of course, some ditched such impractical apparel and dressed like the men.
It was in these stories that I found my novel and I found my heroine Cora. I have to say that I can’t wait to get my rights back to the story so I can add to it, and perhaps, even publish the sequel idea that I can’t seem to shake from my head.
I can’t wait to share the new story . . . or stories with all of you!
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