Blood and Silver is a brand new book by Vali Benson. This is Vali Benson’s first novel, and I am seriously impressed by how good it is!
Blood and Silver is about a 12 year old girl named Carissa Beaumont, who has just moved to Tombstone, Arizona. Carissa is the daughter of Lisette, a prostitute who works for a woman named Miss Lucille. Miss Lucille has come to Tombstone from San Francisco to take advantage of the men who have come to Tombstone for the gold rush. Miss Lucille has brought her best “ladies” with her, Lisette being one of them. When Lisette and Carissa first came to Miss Lucille, they were desperate, but Lisette was beautiful and could sing like an angel, and Carissa was a quiet hard working girl. Miss Lucille saw an opportunity to make a lot of money, and took Lisette and Carissa under her wing. When Miss Lucille saw how much money Lisette alone brought in, she realized she couldn't let her leave. Overtime Miss Lucille managed to get Lisette addicted to a drug called laudanum. Because of this, Carissa and her mother are stuck with Miss Lucille. While Lisette does her work, Carissa does various jobs for Miss Lucille, like doing hair and makeup for the “ladies”, and cleaning and cooking, along with taking care of her fragile mother.
Once they have reached Tombstone, it becomes clear to Carissa that the trip was too hard on Lisette, and that she is even more fragile than before. Carissa manages to trick Miss Lucille into having a doctor come and look at her mother. Doctor Henderson reveals to Carissa that Lisette is addicted to laudanum, something that Carissa was not aware of, and tells her that she needs to be weaned off of it in order to survive. Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only supplier of laudanum in Tombstone is a woman named China Mary who lives in Hoptown. The good doctor comes up with a plan for Carissa to wean her mother off the drug. The plan involves China Mary, and China Mary agrees to help Carissa by lowering the dosage of the laudanum over time. China Mary decides that she likes Carissa and wants to help her get away from Miss Lucille. China Mary secures a job for Carissa at the new Grand Hotel. Carissa works with China Mary’s twelve-year-old niece, Mai-Lin, at the hotel doing hair and makeup for the wives of the wealthy members of the Tombstone Club.The two girls become friends quickly, and make a discovery that puts them into danger, but could change their families lives for generations to come.
I read this book in two days, because it sucked me in so much, that I could only put it down when I had to. I loved this book because the storyline is easy to follow, and there are a reasonable amount of characters. I have read a lot of books over the years, and I find myself overwhelmed by a lot of them because there are so many characters to keep up with. Books like Blood and Silver are refreshing to read, because they are easy to follow along, and even if you take a break from reading it half way through, it’s easy to pick up where you left off.
I loved how many strong female characters were in this book. China Mary, Carissa, and Mai-Lin are all strong and lovable characters that made a lasting impression.
One of my favorite things about the book was how much it focused on friendship and family. When Carissa and her mother make it to Tombstone, they almost immediately meet people who are willing to help and want the best for them. Without the people that were willing to help, Carissa and Lisette would’ve continued to live a bleak life. Lisette most likely would have continued to be a prostitute and would have died from her laudanum addiction. Miss Lucille would have continued to overwork Carissa until she eventually would have made her into a prostitute as well.
I would give this book a 10/10, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this type of book, or is looking for something different to read.