It is 1849 and the California Gold Rush is underway. Johnathan Jennings, a merchant from Pittsburgh decides to take his family to San Francisco to relocate his business. That will be the first of many decisions he makes that will doom many in his family, and it worsens when he leaves his daughter Sarah behind to die. The entire story is told through “found” journals and letters.

The reader is enchanted by the plain brown cover emulating a personal journal. One wonders how a journal might hold the attention given the often meandering style of such personal writing. A quick glance inside, however, captures one in the family circle and causes the reader to imediately in the family dream of new life in the west.