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A First Family of Tasajara   By: (1836-1902)

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A First Family of Tasajara by Bret Harte takes readers on an enthralling journey into the early days of a small California town. Set in the mid-19th century, the novel explores the lives of the newly-established lands of Tasajara and its eccentric inhabitants.

Harte's storytelling prowess shines through as he weaves a tapestry of captivating characters. From the enigmatic Colonel Starbottle, a self-proclaimed man of law and logic, to the spirited Yuba Bill, a seasoned gold miner with a heart of gold, each individual adds a unique flavor to the story. The author's ability to create colorful, multifaceted characters adds depth and authenticity to the narrative, allowing readers to immerse themselves fully in the world of Tasajara.

The plot unfolds at a steady pace, drawing readers deeper into the intricate web of the town's intrigues and secrets. Harte masterfully blends elements of romance, mystery, and social commentary into a seamless narrative. His exploration of themes such as love, class struggles, and the pursuit of wealth are both thought-provoking and relevant, even to contemporary readers.

The author's vivid descriptions transport readers to the rugged landscapes of California, immersing them in the sights and sounds of Tasajara. From the sun-drenched hills to the dusty mining camps, Harte's evocative prose paints a picturesque backdrop against which the characters' stories unfold. Readers can almost taste the dust on their lips and feel the heat radiating from the sun-soaked earth.

Despite the novel's historical setting, A First Family of Tasajara remains surprisingly relatable and resonant. Harte's exploration of the dynamics between characters from different walks of life illuminates the timeless struggles of human relationships. Whether it's the clash of two ambitious families or the complex romance between two unlikely souls, the emotional core of the story remains consistently compelling.

Although the narration occasionally becomes convoluted and might lose some readers along the way, Harte's skillful prose and compelling storytelling more than make up for it. His ability to create memorable characters and transport readers to a bygone era is a testament to his literary prowess.

In conclusion, A First Family of Tasajara is a captivating read that successfully blends history, romance, and social commentary. Bret Harte's storytelling prowess and vivid descriptions bring the town of Tasajara to life, making it a world that readers will not want to leave. Whether you are a fan of historical fiction or simply appreciate a well-crafted tale, this book is sure to captivate and entertain.

First Page:


By Bret Harte


"It blows," said Joe Wingate.

As if to accent the words of the speaker a heavy gust of wind at that moment shook the long light wooden structure which served as the general store of Sidon settlement, in Contra Costa. Even after it had passed a prolonged whistle came through the keyhole, sides, and openings of the closed glass front doors, that served equally for windows, and filled the canvas ceiling which hid the roof above like a bellying sail. A wave of enthusiastic emotion seemed to be communicated to a line of straw hats and sou westers suspended from a cross beam, and swung them with every appearance of festive rejoicing, while a few dusters, overcoats, and "hickory" shirts hanging on the side walls exhibited such marked though idiotic animation that it had the effect of a satirical comment on the lazy, purposeless figures of the four living inmates of the store.

Ned Billings momentarily raised his head and shoulders depressed in the back of his wooden armchair, glanced wearily around, said, "You bet, it's no slouch of a storm," and then lapsed again with further extended legs and an added sense of comfort.

Here the third figure, which had been leaning listlessly against the shelves, putting aside the arm of a swaying overcoat that seemed to be emptily embracing him, walked slowly from behind the counter to the door, examined its fastenings, and gazed at the prospect... Continue reading book >>

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