Gold Mountain


Product Details

$18.99  $17.66
Carolrhoda Lab (R)
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.4 X 1.2 inches | 0.95 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Betty G. Yee was born and raised in Massachusetts. She spent much of her early life reimagining stories or writing sequels to them. Betty has taught elementary school for over twenty years. When she's not teaching, reading, or writing, she enjoys traveling, biking, and eating French fries. She lives in Medford, Massachusetts with her two bossy cats, Zara and Piper.


"In 1860s China, Tam Ling Fan feels lucky to have a liberal father who doesn't hold with certain traditions that would impose restrictions on her life just because she's a woman. But when his kindness to the community's poor lands him in prison, it is the beginning of the reversal of the family fortunes. Soon her brother, who was scheduled to board a ship to California to work on the transcontinental railroad, succumbs to influenza, leaving a marriage of convenience for Ling Fan as the only obvious way of resolving the family's woes. Then, in a dramatic turn of events, Ling Fan dresses like a boy, uses her brother's ticket, and makes her way to the 'Gold Mountain' to earn the fortune needed to save her father. Yee evocatively chronicles the massive hardships and dangers inherent to completing the railroad. Racism, classism, drug addiction, and thievery are well depicted, but the lengths the bosses went to accomplish their daily goals, without regard for the laborers' lives, drive the story. Yee expertly builds tension with a plot development involving blackmail, which also serves as an opportunity to showcase Ling Fan's depth of character in the face of difficult moral choices. An exceptionally told story that will satisfy readers of history, mystery, and adventure while providing food for thought."--starred, Booklist

-- "Journal" (5/15/2022 12:00:00 AM)

"In Betty G. Yee's historical novel Gold Mountain, a young Chinese girl poses as her brother, going to work on a US railroad in his place.

Ling Fan's father is in prison for a crime he did not commit, and her aunt is plotting Ling Fan's marriage to the ne'er-do-well son of a neighbor. Her twin, Jing Fan, had a contract with the Central Pacific Railroad; he's been counted upon to make the family's fortune. When Jing Fan dies of influenza, Ling Fan is unwilling to accept her family's change of fates.

Ling Fan binds her breasts, dons her brother's clothes, grabs Jing Fan's contract, and sails to America to work for the railroad and earn the money that her family needs. She survives a tunnel collapse, malfunctioning equipment, explosions, an avalanche, and betrayal, all with one goal in mind: freeing her father. All the while, she worries that she's not strong enough, brave enough, and that someone will find out that she's a girl. Still, Ling Fan proves herself to be capable and heroic: she twice saves the life of the very boy who threatened to reveal her secret.

Ling Fan's story honors the many Chinese workers who came to the US to build the transcontinental railway in the late nineteenth century. They blasted tunnels through the Sierra Nevada Mountains using dynamite and nitroglycerin, sometimes in baskets suspended on ropes over cliffs hundreds of feet above raging rivers. Many were injured, and many died. Ling Fan's story helps to bring awareness of this dark chapter in American history to younger readers.

Gold Mountain is the historical tale of a courageous daughter whose determination helps to change the face of America, as well as her Chinese family's fortunes."--Foreword Reviews

-- "Website" (5/1/2022 12:00:00 AM)

"After the death of her twin brother, Tam Ling Fan assumes his identity to travel from 1860s Qing dynasty China to the Western United States and take his job building the transcontinental railroad. She needs to earn enough money for the bribes needed to free her wrongfully imprisoned father. In America, she must deal with dangerous work, low pay, racism, and keeping her female identity a secret. When the number of work accidents becomes suspiciously high, it is obvious that someone is sabotaging their efforts and Ling Fan finds herself caught in the middle of an impossible situation. In learning of the other workers' reasons for working the railroad and why some are choosing sabotage, Ling Fan examines her own reasoning behind her actions. The tangled motivations of Yee's characters add much to the story, such as discussing how the railroad affected the Indigenous people already living on the land, or workers returning to China when the railroad was completed. VERDICT A thought-provoking adventure that adds more nuance and complexity to the history of the building of the transcontinental railroad."--School Library Journal

-- "Journal" (4/1/2022 12:00:00 AM)

"A Chinese girl disguises herself as a boy to work on the perilous construction of the transcontinental railroad.

It is 1867, and 15-year-old Tam Ling Fan just lost her twin brother, Jing Fan, to an influenza outbreak. Her magistrate father was also recently falsely accused of treason and imprisoned, and her family expects Ling Fan to follow her duties as a young woman. Through an advantageous marriage, the Tams could become allied with a powerful family who might wield their influence to assist Baba. Ling Fan sees another path, however. Disguised as Jing Fan, she boards a ship to California with a prized railroad contract in hand. But railroad work is a dangerous affair--and she might have underestimated how long it would take to collect enough money for a bribe to help free Baba. Yee takes readers on a vivid journey through the pressures testing those joining the race to build the first transcontinental railroad--from physical dangers and mental stress to the lure of vices. Racial tensions and xenophobia are ever present as well. At home in China as well as among her fellow workers, Ling Fan navigates the dynamics of her class privilege and her gender. A degree of impulsivity and naïve trust in others sometimes jeopardizes her already precarious situation, but luck keeps her from harm, and her persistence and perseverance, though tested, are unyielding.

An adventure-filled glimpse into history through the eyes of a determined daughter."--Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal" (2/15/2022 12:00:00 AM)