|Yankee Gold by Elizabeth Rogers|
This is an impressive novel by Elizabeth Rogers, which takes place within the backdrop of the worst war on American soil. It is a historically accurate narrative that achieves forward motion in its intriguing plot line. Rogers successfully exhibits a difficult conflict within a gradually remorseful climate.
"Fire and smoke concealed the movement of people in the street. It was unclear whether the moving bodies were civilians, enemy, or allies. Occasionally, there would be a clearing."
Steve Elkins begins to blur the lines of societal acceptance. He is an abolitionist attorney in a less than tolerant territory. Though he is brave enough to stand up for his beliefs and politics, it also causes a major hindrance in his personal life.
"'Or they steal from the public coffers'... 'Or take bribes'..."
"He must prove fraud, forgery, bribery, and perjury. Additionally, it appeared he must take on the chief judge of the Supreme Court to force a resignation."
There is a definitive coyness when delving into the incredibly intricate story line. It prevents the reader from understanding the true focus of the ultimate ending. Yet, gradually, as the characters play into the metaphorically sanctioned subplot, Steve Elkins must decide where his loyalties lie.
An interesting character that snagged my attention was Editor Sullivan. As Steve says in a most succinct way: "...he professes in his columns, that he is against peonage, but antagonistic to Radicals. Of course, that's a contradiction in itself." Sullivan plays a thin line and personifies an image of what I would call a troubling epidemic, symbolic in this day and age.
Rogers vividly conveys an empowered and credible narrative. Though Yankee Gold had a slow beginning for this reader, including heavily laden moments of minutiae, the ultimate story is moving and intriguing. It is a unique story that gives every reader an idea of the old politics that our forefathers ventured and braved in a frighteningly new world.
Elizabeth Wall Rogers has been published in the New Mexico Historical Review. She is a member of the Virginia Historical Society and is active in several Virginia writers' clubs.