Title: Calamity Jane – How the West Began
Author: Bryan Ney
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Published: August 9th, 2016
Source: Book received from author for fair review
My rating: 5 stars
I’m definitely behind on reading and reviewing this one. Back in July I responded through Wordslinger Publicity to read a copy of this. In August I was sent a finished copy of the book. I didn’t get around to reading it however until this past November. Once I picked it up though, I was very pleased, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really do love historical fiction when it makes me more interested in a certain time period or historical figure that I’d not really thought a lot about in the past.
This story is about, as you probably guessed, Calamity Jane, or Jane (Martha) Canary, her real name. The story was based on an autobiography that Jane had shared at one point in her life. This story talks about how she got the nickname, as well as how she might have grown up in the time period and place where she lived, Montana. The place she lived had been built up after a gold rush, but now the town is dying out because of all the gold having been found it seems. However there is crime going on, people getting beat up, or even murdered for the gold or cash that they have from their gold. You know, the wild west! Jane’s family has been hard up since her father isn’t able to work. Her mother has even resorted to prostitution in town to make money for the family, something that has caused Jane to be extremely embarrassed when she is in town. Jane meets a boy named Andrew and they become friends. She also goes to get a job herself, learning to be a Faro dealer in a saloon.
When there is talk of a new gold find, everyone decides to pack up and move, including Jane and the Chos, who she works for. Because those out looking for gold will have it to spend on alcohol and gambling, so they will also make money there even without panning for gold themselves.
This was a fun to read story, and really hard to put down as it kept you pulled into the story the whole time, and you didn’t really have any down moments in the plot. It was a short story, less than 200 pages. I will be adding this finished copy I received from the author to the high school library where I work.