Stone and Silt, the new historical mystery from Harvey Chute, was released this week and hit Amazon's Top 10 list for Hot New Releases in YA Lit/Fic. Today we're kicking off the book's blog tour, where you can win free goodies like Amazon gift certificates and a stylish tote bag. You can enter to win at the end of this post.

And the first reviews are starting to come in! Some can be viewed on the book's Amazon page, and here's one from a beta reader:

When you were a kid, you might have read any of a number of books featuring young people and how they lived in the 19th century - the Little House books by Laura Wilder come to mind. Sometimes you might have wanted something with a little more adventure - a treasure to find or a mystery to solve. The Nancy Drew books come to mind. Harvey Chute has drawn on both those traditions in his debut novel Stone and Silt.

The setting is the Canadian frontier in 1863. Fort Yale, BC is a small town on the Fraser River well upstream from Vancouver. It's a 'gold town' folks come through on the way to the gold fields to make their fortune - and on the way back after their claims don't pan out.

Nikaia's mother is a member of the Nlaka'pamux people and her father is a transplanted Welshman. Nikaia and her sister attend the town school, along with Yee Sim, the son of Chinese immigrants who run a general supply store. When Nikaia helps Yee Sim get the best of a group of bullies, the pair become good friends.

The arrival of the sternwheeler Umatilla from Vancouver is a major event in the town. The bank of the river is even busier than usual as the townsfolk gather to welcome the boat. As the adults get busy with the unloading of supplies, Nikaia and Yee Sim go exploring, finding a satchel of gold and witnessing an argument between two of the townsmen. When her father comes under suspicion for the theft, Nikaia and Yee Sim realize they'll have to figure out where the gold came from, and who the men were, to clear his name. As they investigate, the real thief always seems to be one step ahead.

I really enjoyed the book - though it's been a while since I was a "young adult". But it really did take me back to the sorts of stories I read then. And it's very well-written; I had no sense of language having being simplified for younger readers and the story has plenty of interest to hold the attention of adults as well.
Stone and Silt is available now:
Barnes & Noble:

More Stone and Silt links:
Book Page on RAP:
Harvey's blog:

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