By a BookTalk reader:
No Rooms of Their Own: Women Writers of Early California, 1849-1869, edited by Ida Rae Egli (Heydey Books, 1997)
Anthologies are great for those busy days when there's too much to do but you have a few moments to step into a story or someone else's life. This book contains letters, diary selections, short stories and poems written by women who lived through the days of California's gold rush and the ensuing years of California's development into a "civilized destination." They participated in some of the most unique and exhilarating historical events in American history. And we just don't get to hear their voices often. I found the Dame Shirley letters especially intriguing - a smart yet traditional woman living through extraordinary events. And I like that (where possible) there was a photograph of the author to study. How strong these women were, and how remarkable their stories.