I’m always on the lookout for good graphic novels. The kids will read a good one five times or more before it’s time to take it back to the library. There’s a couple of blogs I follow that will post about graphic novels. Usually, if I see one I’m interested in, I’ll check my library collection and request it on the spot if it’s in the system. That means, we get a random graphic novel showing up on a regular basis. It also means I can’t remember who recommended the book to me in the first place. Sorry! This book sounded interesting because of its setting (Nova Scotia – don’t get too many stories set there) and its premise of telling a story set in the same place but in two different time periods.
Genre: mystery graphic novel
Length: 234 pages
Setting: French Hill, Nova Scotia, 1859 and the present.
Summary: We flip back and forth between two stories. In the present day, Tara Fraser’s house has just burned down, and she’s living with a friend while her mother works in the oil fields in western Canada. Now she has to navigate 10th grade with a new crush and her mom wanting to permanently move out west. In 1859, the Fraser family is working their farm when a man named Asa shows up and says there’s gold on the farm. Mr. Fraser decides he’d rather mine for gold than try to farm, even though his wife (who has a bit of the second sight) thinks it’s a bad idea. Asa also starts to court Josey, their teenage daughter, against her mother’s wishes. They do find gold, but Asa turns out to be a scoundrel and kills the father for the gold. Asa is killed before he can make off with the gold. There’s always been rumors of hidden treasure on the Fraser farm, and Tara is able to find it, with the help of some of her friends and a magical pendant Asa wore.
Final thoughts: I loved the way this story flipped back and forth in time and I looked for the similarities in the stories. The present day story had white edges, while the 1859 story had black edges, so it was easy to tell which time period you were in. All the art was black and white (which disappointed Miss Adventure.) There’s also a hint of magic, as Tara uses a necklace from Asa to find some lost things, including the treasure. You get hints of how the gold-mining has affected the present day (arsenic in the drinking water, for example), as well as a coming-of-age story for Tara and Josey. Poor Josey thought Asa really loved her, but turns out he was just using her to get the gold.
Title comes from: Not an obvious one. If I remember, they mentioned using mercury to refine the gold from the ore they were mining in French Hill.
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