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A Trail of Broken Dreams

A Trail of Broken Dreams
The Gold Rush Diary of Harriet Palmer

By Barbara Haworth-Attard

ISBN: 978-0-439-97405-9 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4431-2816-2 Ebook
208 pages | Ages 9-12 | 5 3/8" x 7 5/8"

Harriet Palmer's mother has just died, and if that isn't bad enough, the children's caregiver is talking about taking her brother away. Harriet decides that she must disguise herself as a boy and travel overland to the Cariboo gold fields to find her father and reunite what remains of her family. But will her disguise hold out?

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From Harriet's diary:

July 12, 1862

Spent all day in camp. I am wet through and through. And also covered in mud! All because of John. It looked like the weather would break, so we set off from the fort, but soon stopped, due to more rain and thick fog hiding the trail. For two days it has stormed with great winds and silver sheets of water. As I was climbing up a muddy incline yesterday, John suddenly appeared out of the rain and kicked my feet out from under me. I went tumbling backwards, right beneath the hooves of a horse. Somehow I managed to roll away before they came down on me, but I landed in a marshy area that the rain had turned to a huge mud lake! Joe fished me out and set me on my feet. I am so cold now my teeth chatter without stop, but it is too wet for a fire.

Wolves follow us day and night and howl unceasingly, sending shivers up my spine and making everyone sharp-tongued from lack of sleep. Why did I think I could make it to the gold fields? I miss Luella and William. I do not think I am adequate to this task. Cannot write anymore as the rain is dripping on my page and making the ink run!

From Dear Canada: A Trail of Broken Dreams, copyright © 2004 by Barbara Haworth-Attard.


This was the first book in the series that I read. I really liked this book and I have been reading the series ever since. Thanks for making such a great series of books about Canadian girls.
Emily, Rating: 9

I finished A Trail of Broken Dreams a couple of days ago and when I finished reading it I cried cause it was so good that I thought there should be more and I never cry after I'm finished a book.
Leeann C., Age 12, Ontario, Rating: 10

I really, really liked A Trail of Broken Dreams. Harriet was SO relatable, and she and Talbot are just the best. I loved that she disguised herself as a boy; I found that so brave! I don't think any girl I know would do that just to find her father. Her story will rest in my heart forever.
Nikki W., Age: 13, U.S.A., Rating: 7

This is the very best book ever!! So moving it kept reading it until I was done!!!
Emili M., Age 12, Manitoba, Rating: 10