Set in early 1900s Colorado, the unforgettable tale of a young woman who bravely faces the consequences of speaking out against injustice.

In a voice spiked with sly humor, Sylvie Pelletier recounts leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in a manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble-mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her; fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. Her fairy-tale ideas of romance take a dark turn when she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, formerly enslaved people, have long known this to be true and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.

Outside the manor walls, the town of Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper—a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as an apprentice—is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Sylvie navigates vastly different worlds and struggles to find her way amid conflicting loyalties. When the harsh winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.

Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is a tale of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story infused with longing—for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure.

Don't just take our word for it...

“Kate Manning is a master storyteller. Gilded Mountain is so immersive, so richly imagined, that reading it feels akin to time travel. Manning writes historical sagas like no one else; the dreamers, strivers, and opportunists who populate this tale possess a uniquely American desire to reinvent themselves, whatever it takes. An epic story of love, hope and perseverance.”
– #1 New York Times bestselling author Christina Baker Kline

“The best historical novels sing because, through them, we feel the reverberations of the past in the present day. Hard work, love, sorrow, revenge, joy — Gilded Mountain hums with all of this and more.”
– Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes

“An expansive novel of passions: love, beauty, suffering; struggles for labor rights, women’s equality and the rights of formerly enslaved people… it contains romance, historical fiction and inspired, high-minded thinking on important issues, [with] lovely writing about the natural world… a painfully beautiful novel of big ideals, heartbreaks and tragedies, sewn together by an admirable and unforgettable heroine.”
– Shelf Awareness

Taste the very first page

I never told a soul about the money. Not a word about the marriage or the events that led me to his arms. In those days I was a young religieuse, my mother pointing me toward a nunnery. But it was the transformations of love and ease I wanted, and when we went west, I went looking. There in the sharp teeth of the Gilded Mountains, where the snow and murderous cold conspire to ruin a woman, I lost the chance to become a delicate sort of lady, one of those poodles in hair parlors and society clubs. Instead, I got myself arrested as a radical and acquired a fine vocabulary, one more common to muleskinners and barflies, quarryhogs, witches. And I’m not sorry, for it was all of my education in those two years, about right and wrong. Here in the attic of memory, I sit with my trunk of ghosts, my pen, to put down those long-ago days in Moonstone, Colorado, to report at last certain crimes, my own included, of the heart and worse, and how they tried to smash us.

We never should’ve headed up there in that avalanche month, April 1907, but already had waited two years to follow my father. Our party consisted of myself, a tall, odd girl, almost seventeen; my mother, Cherie; my brother…