by Elisa Lynn Carbone

Reviewer Rating:


This young adult novel was researched right here in Denver at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library!  In 1878, Eva Wilkins loses the couple that adopted her and is forced to travel to Denver, where her birth mother still lives.  Once she arrives, she is shocked to find out that her mother not only works at a brothel, but is a white woman who never told her employer about having a black child. Facing the racism of being a biracial girl in the late 1800’s, Eva is forced to dance for money to pay back her clothing and food debt to the owner of the brothel. When she hears one day that she’ll be forced to work “upstairs” as an underage girl, she runs away, seeking out a neighbor that had moved to Denver a few years earlier. 
This book is full of interesting historical references to downtown Denver, Idaho Springs, Georgetown and Clear Creek Canyon.  It also tackles the terrible circumstances many women found themselves in when they were forced to find employment in the west, the horrors of brothel work and indentured servitude and the strength of Eva as she finds a way to create her own free path.

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