Book Review: Shanty Gold by Jeanne Charters

ShantyGoldFront-200x300-72dpi1On Monday, I hosted an interview with Jeanne Charters about her debut novel Shanty Gold. Here is my review.

I loved Shanty Gold. The description of the book is:

In 1849’s famine-ravaged Ireland, thirteen-year-old Mary Boland is found lying mostly dead on the side of the road to Cork Harbor, Queenstown, Ireland. She just buried her mother and baby sister after they both died of starvation. Now she is headed for Boston to find her father— no matter what. Raped and beaten by the evil crew of The Pilgrim’s Dandy, she is rescued by a fifteen-year-old Negro slave who had been used in like manner for some time and had vowed to throw himself to the sharks that very night. Together they survive the harrowing two and a half month trip, helping others as well. Their friendship is the key to the new world for both of them, carrying them through hardships and trials, and eventually to happiness.

But that is only the beginning. Most of the book takes place in Boston as two youngsters try their best to survive in a new and strange world. The  book tackles hard issues such as rape, murder, slavery, race, and gender in a frank but beautiful story.

Author Jeanne Charters
Author Jeanne Charters

The story is so well-written I found myself unable to put it down. I just had to know what would happen to the characters. How would they survive in such a harsh world at such young ages? The story is a happy one, but it isn’t sappy or contrived. The story feels very realistic and it is clear the author did a lot of research.

The book is not a romance but is a historical novel, though there are romantic elements. The book is appropriate for teen readers.

Shanty Gold is the first part of a planned trilogy, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books.

Shanty Gold was published by Rogue Phoenix Press and is available on their website, but it is also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Have you read Shanty Gold? Let me know what you thought in the comments!