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_"Volmer has written a new story of the California gold rush that is as believable and transporting as any I have ever read. . . . Volmer's characters are wonderful and the story is tense and engaging."--Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
What the critics are saying about Crown of Dust...
"Volmer's distinctive, beautifully written debut is set in the California gold rush country in the mid-19th century, when tensions and fortunes were as volatile as the ground prospectors mined ... Volmer's found a fat vein of gold in some heavily mined territory." --Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)
"There are subliminal echoes of L. Frank Baum in Volmer's mythmaking with Motherlode as an Old West Emerald City, Emaline as the Good Witch and Alex's punitive Gran as the defunct Bad Witch of the East. But Volmer keeps whimsy in check with a terse present-tense voice that invests her pioneers with piquant inner lives and a poker-faced lyricism. " --Jan Stuart, The New York Times "Sunday Review of Books"
"Mary Volmer possesses such fierce powers of description, I could almost feel the dust of Motherlode clinging to the hem of my skirt. In Crown of Dust, Volmer has created an intensely physical and utterly enjoyable novel, filled with unforgettable characters."--Michelle Richmond, the New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Fog
"Any illusions about the glamour of digging for gold are totally shattered by Mary Volmer's 'Crown of Dust,' a grim and carefully researched book about the California gold rush…. Volmer, in her remarkable first novel, has re-created the reality of an era that few can even visualize now." --Muriel Dobbin (The Washington Times)