Blood and Silver by Vali Benson – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Blood and Silver by Vali Benson to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Blood and Silver by Vali Benson

Here is the book blurb.

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

This book is set in 1880 at Tombstone, Arizona, one of the Wild West frontier towns. The period has been very well researched by the author and weaves in fact along with fiction.

The story starts with Miss Lucille, the madam, greedy for money, relocating with her 3 best girls Lisette, Elise and Yvonne from San Francisco to Tombstone, along with Lisette’s 12 year old daughter Carissa, whom Miss Lucille treats as an unpaid servant. The tale is told from Carissa’s viewpoint.

Carissa is particularly worried about her mother, since Miss Lucille has now got her addicted to laudanum. Doctor Henderson advises her that the only way to help Lisette kick the drug habit and get well again, is to gradually reduce the dose. But how to do this without Miss Lucille realising?

There is only one drug supplier in Tombstone, China Mary. will she be willing to help Carissa, and if so, on what terms? Lots more going on in this book, including danger and adventure. A good read.

China Mary was a real person who controlled the opium dealing in Tombstone. I don’t particularly watch Westerns, but I’m pretty sure I have come across China Mary in a movie previously.

Blood and Silver is available on Amazon, in paperback, hardback and Kindle formats. A great historical YA adventure which has been well researched. This is Vali’s debut novel, so I certainly hope there will be more to come.

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6 thoughts on “Blood and Silver by Vali Benson – book review

  1. sarahmo3w

    This sounds like a really good read. I like stories where you can learn a bit of history too and this is certainly a time and place I don’t know anything about. Strangely, reading your description it reminded me a bit of Peaky Blinders on TV! I think it was the idea of town being controlled by criminals and drugs.



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