By Cynthia L. Simmons
Elk Lake, 2016
With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.
With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner's daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter's forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.
Pursuing Gold is an unusual and interesting Civil War novel, one that looks at the war through the lens of the financial industry rather than the battlefield. Its approach is serious and informative as it weaves elements of mystery, family relationships, and romance throughout. Historical detail is the novel’s strength and I found that aspect intriguing, as well as the Chattanooga, Tennessee setting.
Peter and Mary Beth are likeable, intelligent characters who struggle daily in a world where greed and desire for power strive to make them stumble. The C&R Bank becomes Peter’s responsibility after his father’s death, and there are those who seek to undermine him. I loved Mary Beth’s relationship with and care for her father, whose health is failing.
The story is written in short chapters, broken up into various times of day and character voices. I found this format easy to follow, although the narrative doesn’t flow as smoothly as I’m used to. My favorite characters are Peter and Mary Beth’s father, who were well developed, but I would have liked more depth with Mary Beth.
I enjoyed Pursuing Gold for all the historical detail and think it is a story fans of Civil War history would enjoy.
Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She's a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today's crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.
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I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.