Gold Mountain

Gold Mountain - Joanne Pence Ruth Greer is the well-to-do daughter of a San Francisco shipping magnate who chafes at the strictures of her early 20th-century life. She wants to travel, be a businesswoman and so on ... all the while knowing that society will dictate a different life for her.When she meets a young boy who has run away from Chinatown and, subsequently, his family, her life changes a great deal. She starts visiting Chinatown every day to teach the children and their mother English ... and falls in love with their father, Li Han-Lin. This is why the author calls it a book of forbidden love.Naturally, the author deals with the 1906 earthquake ... and this is where the book first goes a little south for me. While she's clearly done *some* of her homework, she credits the San Francisco fire department with dynamiting the Van Ness corridor in order to create a fire break. This was actually ordered by Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston, then commander of Fort Mason, who essentially placed the City under martial law in order to ensure its survival.There was an additional problem in that Ms. Lodge did not seem to understand the full impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act (she makes an oblique reference to it as a miscegenation law). There were strict penalties for violating said law, up to and including loss of citizenship for Americans who violated any of its tenets. This was conveniently overlooked for the sake of the story Lodge wanted to tell.When these blatant errors in fact met up with errors in grammar (incorrect pluralization, homophone errors, punctuation problems, etc.), I just could not find it in my heart to give the book a higher rating. That's a real pity, because the plot was sound and Lodge is a good storyteller. She did a beautiful job of showing what life was like in Chinatown, with its tongs, sing-song girls and most people just trying to get along in a world where prejudice and bigotry were considered normal ways to behave.