Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike – Charlotte Gray (2010, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Toronto)
One of the biggest reasons I picked up this book was because my hubby did some work as an extra on the TV show that is based on it (the 6 hour miniseries “Klondike” will be aired on Discovery Channel in Canada beginning 20 January 2014). I’m a history buff and stories about the Canadian North have always appealed to me, so I knew this would be right up my alley. What I didn’t anticipate was just how fascinating and exciting historian Charlotte Gray would make these interconnected stories of six major players in the gold rush scene: devout Jesuit priest Father Judge, gold miner William Haskell, writer Jack London (yes, THAT Jack London), ruthless entrepreneur Belinda Mulrooney, imperialist reporter Flora Shaw, and famous Mountie enforcer Sam Steele. Through diary entries and other historical documents and photographs, Gray resurrects all of these principal movers and shakers in the Klondike, along with all of the hard-working and hard-drinking miners, journalists, bankers, barkeeps, and dancing girls that populated Dawson City and other Yukon outposts. This is no stuffy textbook; Gold Diggers reads as fast and furious as good fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing how the TV show will capture all of the personalities and excitement of the era. (I found some great teaser set photos here).
- Alberta-shot Klondike,with Richard Madden and Abbie Cornish, to air Jan. 20 on Discovery (blogs.calgaryherald.com)