Fiery Star ~ Novel

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"Hopeful, rich in history, and shining with Emma Lightfoot's fierce and often wry voice, FIERY STAR shares a world both lost and familiar, dangerous and beautiful. It caught hold of my heart and didn't let go."

Kim Culbertson, award winning author of Catch a Falling Star
and Songs for a Teenage Nomad

Fiery Star is published by Sierra Muses Press, Nevada City, CA

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Leslie Rivers is a writer, actress, director and teacher, and she thinks herself lucky to have made her life in the theatre. When she was in her teens, she acted in a production of Bus Stop, staged in an old, 19th century hall. Beyond the rear of the building flowed the American River, smelling sweetly of sand and willow, and a stone’s throw from the spot where the California Gold Rush began--a cradle for what would one day be her novel, Fiery Star.

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FIERY STAR - THE STORY

Fiery Star takes the reader into the rich and rugged world of nineteenth century California, and the lives of the actors who brought their art to the raw towns of the Gold Rush. It’s based on true events.

The summer of 1856 is an uneasy one in California’s Sierra foothills. The Gold Rush boom has gone bust, and the mining camps have dried to tinder in the relentless heat. Young Emma Lightfoot’s beloved father, the publisher of Placerville’s smallest newspaper, The Rattler, has suddenly died. Emma’s fought desperately to save him, and now, on her own in a rough gold town, she confesses she is “scared as a baby.” Still, she refuses to surrender to grief. She vows to jump out of the grave of her old life and into a new beginning.

In July, Edwin Booth (brother of the infamous John Wilkes Booth) begins a tour of the camps with the Star Troupe, a small theatre company. On stage, he delivers hints of brilliance, but he’s also a brooding youth with a drinking problem, struggling to emerge from the shadow of his famous––and insane––actor father.

When the Star Troupe arrives in Placerville, Emma seizes her chance. Fascinated by Booth and the theatre, she convinces the company to take her on as a laundress. As the troupe journeys through a beautiful and treacherous landscape, Emma hopes that she’s found a new family. But when the the towns they play burn to the ground, the Star Troupe’s lives are threatened by the suspicion that Booth is the firebug.

 

PRAISE FOR FIERY STAR

“FIERY STAR has ranked among my "constellations" of favorites. I wait anxiously for the further adventures of the thespians, desperadoes, lovers, true friends, true villains and, of course, Emma Lightfoot. Emma has taken her place in the gallery of great American fictional (but oh, so true) characters.”
Michael Wells-Oakes, author of A Cold December, Breath to Breath, Grace

“Rich in historical detail and full of adventure, FIERY STAR and its sixteen-year-old protagonist enchanted me. Orphaned Emma Rose Lightfoot and the family she discovers in the world of theater... are such believable, fascinating characters that I felt as if I were saying goodbye to beloved friends when the last page was turned.”
Tanya Egan Gibson, author of How to Buy a Love of Reading

"Hopeful, rich in history, and shining with Emma Lightfoot's fierce and often wry voice, FIERY STAR shares a world both lost and familiar, dangerous and beautiful. It caught hold of my heart and didn't let go."
Kim Culbertson, award winning author of Catch a Falling Star and Songs for a Teenage Nomad

“A colorful world of actors and outlaws comes to life in a debut historical novel from Rivers...scenes and plot-lines stand out for their tension and intrigue -- a section describing a rescue attempt during a massive, town-consuming fire is knuckle whitening...shines thanks to its compelling...cast and vividly constructed world.”
Kirkus Reviews

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