Sylvie Pelletier is the irrepressible young heroine of this sweeping historical novel, set in Moonstone, Colorado, 1907. Hers is the tale of a hardscrabble education, about right and wrong, and the consequences of speaking out against injustice.
In a voice full of questions and sly humor, Sylvie recounts the story of leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in the local manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her, fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. When she learns that a European King will soon arrive for a hunting party, her fairy-tale ideas of glamour and romance take a dark turn, as she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, descendants of formerly enslaved people have long known this to be true—and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.
Outside the manor walls, Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper—a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as apprentice—is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Threats of violence permeate the air. Sylvie navigates between vastly different worlds, and struggles to find her own voice amidst conflicting loves and loyalties. When the harsh and dangerous winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.
Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is an unforgettable saga of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants; a novel about resilience in the midst of hardship, and a story infused with longing—for family and equality, beauty and joy.
About the Author
Kate Manning is the author of the critically acclaimed novels My Notorious Life and Whitegirl. A former documentary television producer and winner of two Emmy Awards, she has written for TheNew York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Time, Glamour, and The Guardian, among other publications. She has taught creative writing at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, and lives with her family in New York City.
"Kate Manning is a master storyteller. Gilded Mountain is so immersive, so richly imagined, that reading it feels akin to time travel. Manning writes historical sagas like no one else; the dreamers, strivers, and opportunists who populate this tale possess a uniquely American desire to reinvent themselves, whatever it takes. An epic story of love, hope and perseverance." —#1 New York Times bestselling author Christina Baker Kline
"Here is adventure of the first order, as young Sylvie Pelletier finds herself thrust into a seething union dispute ina marble-quarrying town. There’s violence in the wintry air, but also romance, as two charismatic men vie for Sylvie’s attention. Dread and love entwine, as the forces and people that transformed the 20th century converge on the town, all this rendered by Ms. Manning in prose as clean and sharp as the stone saws on the mountain. I raced through it. Sylvie is dynamite and Gilded Mountain is brilliant." —#1 New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson
"The best historical novels sing because, through them, we feel the reverberations of the past in the present day. Hard work, love, sorrow, revenge, joy — Gilded Mountain hums with all of this and more." —Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes