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The Editor, Celeste Palmer, asked a gold prospector once where to find gold and he said, “Gold is where you find it.” Those words of wisdom later become a reality for Ms. Palmer when she was introduced by a descendent of Eva to an enthralling memoir written by her great grandmother, a Swedish woman, about her life from age fourteen to forty two in the years 1880-1908.
The book starts with a letter to her friend Gene, with the intent of teaching her the ill fate of free love, and to give her an understanding of why she should not judge people too harshly, like herself or her daughter for their mistakes in life. Does Eva make mistakes in life? Yes, but that is a big part of the intrigue as she opens up about her inner most feelings about her romances and the conflicting sense of right and wrong regarding how best to handle often difficult inter-personal situations.
Obviously a beautiful woman from her one surviving photo from when she was nineteen, the book is interspersed with many attempts by men to gain her interest. At one crescendo moment in chapter six (‘Intersecting Destinies’) there are four men vying for her interest (Martin, Nils, Mr. Billings and Rolf). Other women’s jealousies also play a role in the unusual circumstances she often finds herself, with one woman Carlotta having a whole chapter devoted to her pursuit to bring down Eva.
Like many people who fled Europe for one reason or another, Eva seeks refuge and the promise of a new beginning in America. But as you will see, the baggage always goes with the traveler.
While immersed in the many exciting and challenging situations of her life, you get a historical look at life in that very interesting and quickly changing time period as Eva travels from Sweden to Denmark, by steamer to Norway then NY in 1896, by train to Chicago, St. Louis for the 1904 World’s Fair, to SF just barely missing the 1906 earthquake, then by steamer to Hawaii, Guam, Manilla and Zamboanga in the Philippine Islands, Nagasaki then back to San Francisco shaking off its ashes.
Chicago in those days was a rough place offering up a whole chapter devoted to it entitled, ‘Chicago’s Skullduggery’
Immerse yourself in the undulations of her life, the journey, its history, the joy, the anguish, the inspiration and courage of a single woman taking on life in foreign lands to its fullest in a male dominated time period. It is clear Eva's intention in writing this incredibly exciting memoir was to help teach others through her experiences.