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"What is Pap getting us into? In my quiet moments I wonder if he worries, as I do, about his new profession. How will a man trained in medicine know what to do with a pick and shovel?"
Susanna Fairchild[2]

Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild is a historical fiction book written by Kristiana Gregory. It is the twenty-second book in the Dear America series. The book was published in June 2001 by Scholastic. It was followed in October 2001 by Barry Denenberg's Early Sunday Morning.

Susanna Fairchild's family gets caught up in the California Gold Rush while on their way to join relatives.


"Seeds of Hope is dedicated to my editor, Ann Reit, in celebration of our many books together and a golden friendship. Thanks, Ann."

Book description[]

"Saturday, the 24th of March
Miner's Creek

Apparently we are camped on what used to be a grove of little pine trees. They were chopped down, leaving stumps of various heights, some tall enough to use as a table, others low enough for stools. This is where we were sitting when a great commotion broke out, an hour after sunrise.
"Gold!" someone yelled above the noise of the river. "Mile north of Old Dry Crik!"
Suddenly the noise of picks and shovels stopped. Before our eyes a swarm of men hurried out of camp to where their horses were grazing. They mounted, then disappeared into the woods. Others packed tools and bedrolls onto their mules; some just started walking.
I was amazed at the power of that one word,


Susanna, her sister Clara, and father, Dr. Fairchild, are on board the SS California with plans to join family in Oregon City. They are devastated by the lost of their mother and wife, whom was swept off the ship a few weeks ago. Susanna begins writing a diary after finding it in her mother's trunk. Later, Susanna and Clara befriend Rosita Sepúlveda whom boarded with her family in Peru. Next, the ship reaches Panama where they are greeted by Americans whom have news that gold has been found in California.

Arriving at San Francisco, Dr. Fairchild suddenly decides to join the gold rush. Susanna and Clara are against it, but ultimately decide that they cannot leave their father. The family settles in Miner's Creek, where they reunite with an old friend, Jesse Blue. They also befriend an old sea captain known as Captain Clinkingbeard. Dr. Fairchild and the captain leave the girls in a cabin to mine a claim they staked in the hills. Jesse visits Susanna and Clara occasionally with gold from the father. In the meantime, the girls reunite with Rosita whom is now pregnant.

Their father is away for nearly a month, leaving Susanna and Clara constantly worried. One day, an injured, young man named Sam James is brought to their cabin. Finally, the girls set out to find their father and bring him back. Upon arriving back, Dr. Fairchild has to amputate Sam's leg. He stays with them afterwards to recover. From then on, Dr. Fairchild gives up mining and works as a doctor for the miners. Later, the family learns that Jesse has betrayed them. He kept most of gold Dr. Fairchild entrusted him with, giving only a small amount to the girls. He then fled to San Francisco.

Over time a love blossoms between Susanna and Sam. He asks her father for permission to court her, which he grants after thinking about it for a month. Meanwhile, after helping Rosita give birth, Clara grows close to Rosita's brother, Antonio. Dr. Fairchild eventually comes to the decision that they should join their relatives in Oregon City. Clara bravely faces her separation from Antonio, while Susanna confesses that she really loves Sam. Both Sam and Captain Clinkingbeard agree to come along. As they near Oregon City, Susanna feels a great hope for her new home.


Historical Note[]

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Main article: List of Seeds of Hope characters
  • Susanna Fairchild, a fourteen-year-old girl whom has recently lost her mother. She starts writing a diary in order to feel closer to her mother.
  • Clara Fairchild, Susanna's sixteen-year-old sister who is always conscious of being ladylike. Though they occasionally bicker, Clara and Susanna are extremely close.


Main article: Kristiana Gregory

Kristiana Gregory is an award-winning children's author. She wrote five books in the Dear America series, as well as three in The Royal Diaries, and another three in My America. Gregory was "thrilled" when she was asked to write about the Gold Rush since California is her native state. She decided to write about a family that was thrusted into the historic event by chance and focused on their "strength of character."

Shared continuity[]

Seeds of Hope serves as an indirect sequel to Gregory's 1997 book, Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie. In the narrative, Susanna's family are heading to Oregon to reunite with Hattie Campbell, the lead character in Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, and her family when they are swept up in the Gold Rush.




See also[]

Dear America

A Journey to the New World | The Winter of Red Snow | When Will This Cruel War Be Over? | A Picture of Freedom
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly
West to a Land of Plenty | Dreams in the Golden Country | Standing in the Light | Voyage on the Great Titanic
A Line in the Sand | My Heart Is on the Ground | The Great Railroad Race | The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow
A Light in the Storm | Color Me Dark | A Coal Miner's Bride | My Secret War | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
Valley of the Moon | Seeds of Hope | Early Sunday Morning | My Face to the Wind | Christmas After All
A Time for Courage | Where Have All the Flowers Gone? | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Survival in the Storm
When Christmas Comes Again | Land of the Buffalo Bones | Love Thy Neighbor | All the Stars in the Sky
Look to the Hills | I Walk in Dread | Hear My Sorrow


The Fences Between Us | Like the Willow Tree | Cannons at Dawn | With the Might of Angels | Behind the Masks
Down the Rabbit Hole | A City Tossed and Broken

External links[]