Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gold Digger by Vicki Delany

Title: Gold Digger
Author: Vicki Delany
ISBN: 9781894917803, RendezVous Crime, 2009
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: DNF (79 of 317 pages)

First Line: "Bloody hell," Angus said.

This was a mystery made especially for me, or so I thought. The Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, the city of Dawson springing up overnight in the Yukon Territory. A flood of people heading north to make their fortunes, either by finding the mother lode of ore...or by discovering every possible way to part the prospectors and miners from their hard-earned nuggets and dust.

Fiona MacGillivray is one of those people parting the miners from their profits. Leaving a shady past behind her in England, this single mother and her 12-year-old son made it over the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson. Now Fiona is the owner of the Savoy Dance Hall, has a handsome Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer hanging around who makes her nervous, and she occasionally has to keep her business partner, a former Glasgow street fighter, in line. If that weren't enough, now she's got a body to contend with.

I began reading this book fully expecting to fall head first in the pages and not come up for air. It was not to be. Delany set the stage well. I could picture Dawson clearly in my mind. No, the setting was not the problem.

The problem was in the characterization. None of the book people came to life and were very flat. Fiona, the main character upon whom the book depended, was very...aloof. Several hints were made about her questionable life in England. Perhaps if I'd stuck with the book longer, I would've made more sense of the hints, but Fiona was such a cold, penny-pinching, greedy character that I frankly got tired of her. Even knowing that a woman who had a questionable past in that day and age would naturally play her cards close to the vest didn't help. In order for me to begin to like Fiona enough to continue reading, Delany needed to provide me with a spark, a twinkle, to Fiona to let me know there was more to the woman than money mania. I closed the book and looked at it for quite some time. Shouldn't I persevere? Who's to say the book won't shed its stiffness and the characters become interesting?

Then I thought once more of Fiona and her greedy, cold nature. As much as I wanted to like this book, it just isn't my cup of tea. Someone else with more patience will have to see if Fiona has a heart of gold.

If you've read Gold Digger and have a differing opinion, please either leave a link to your review or a comment. My reviews, like everyone else's are merely opinions, and it's always good to get a second one of those!


  1. How disappointing for you Cathy - I hate that feeling when expectations are not met. I haven't read this book but have read one other (a modern one) bu Delany and found the characters very well done. But if you're not enjoying it I agree there's no point going forwards.

  2. What a disappointment. The plot sounded so good. Good thing you gave up after 79 pages and didn't waste any more time on annoying characters. Thanks for the warning.

  3. Bummer! I liked the description of the story, and I LOVE the cover with the vintage photos.

    I've never been a DNF when it comes to books, but I'm slowly crossing over - so many books, so little time!

  4. Vicki here. I am sorry you didn't like the book Cathy, but each to their own. I would like to point out to your readers that Joan Barfoot in the London Free Press called called Fiona a triumph, "Her triumph, however, is Fiona MacGillivray, a woman of grit who presents herself with a kind of cool, professional charm, but less calculating and more tender-hearted than she herself likes to think. Each character is alive and well-rounded, but it's Fiona who makes enticing the prospect of further novels in Delany's proposed Klondike gold rush series." and the Globe and Mail said Fiona was "a terrific heroine".

    Thanks for letting me comment.


  5. Bernadette--I have a copy of Delany's In the Shadow of the Glacier, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Margot-- Don't forget...your mileage may vary!

    Dawn--As I just mentioned to Margot, just because my experience wasn't all that I expected it to be doesn't mean that you'd be my twin. Different strokes for different folks and all that! :)

    Vicki-- Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. It can't be pleasant to run across someone who doesn't love one of your babies. Reading can be such a subjective pursuit. Whenever I post a less than glowing review, I always want my readers to realize that it's just one person's opinion. I appreciate your pointing everyone toward more favorable viewpoints--and for being so gracious. You're a star!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!