Smathers writes beautifully. She shares each of her characters and their worlds so fully. I felt like I was there with each of them.
--Kathy Nielsen, former Librarian, Monterey Public Library, and Professional Genealogist
The eleven stories in this collection bring to life every day, hard-working Californians who demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit. Light and dark sides of contemporary society emerge as the reader meets:
In this ambitious work, Smathers imparts the wisdom of studying the past in order to move more fully and sincerely into the future....This intriguing mix of history with a contemporary story of discovery and acceptance will powerfully move readers looking for narratives of the American melting pot.
--Publishers Weekly BookLife Review
A Family Saga through California’s Rich History…
When twenty something Nicole stumbles on DNA reports that document an ancestry far different than her father’s narrative of a white, northern European background, she enlists the help of her great grandmother to investigate their roots. As she and Great Gram ignore her father’s protests and search for documents in the attic of an historic San Francisco Victorian, the family’s actual history unfolds.
Their true Californio ancestors include a Spanish soldier in the Portola expedition to explore Alta California, a captured Ohlone native and a girl whose family walks with the De Anza settlers almost two thousand miles north from Sinaloa to the San Francisco Bay. Nicole slowly unravels the mysteries of her two hundred and fifty year family tree, from California’s native inhabitants and its earliest European colonizers through the generations to the Gold Rush.
How does her origin story unfold after the arrival of those Spanish explorers? Can she and Great Gram find evidence of their true family tree and use it to protect the old house from being sold off? Can Nicole find common ground and reconcile with her father in the process? In This Land of Plenty’s family saga introduces the diverse cast of characters and complex social issues that populate California’s rich history while drawing a direct line to today’s residents.