I love historical fiction, and most of all, I love historical fiction about badass women. The main characters of The Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz are just that, all in their own way. Not all of them are likable, and one in particular isn’t even lovable (IMO), but they’re all tough women out to get what they need to survive in a patriarchal society. This book is full of twists and turns and I loved reading it.

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The summary:

The Golden Van Dorens
by Nicole Strycharz

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
eBook a& Paperback; 355 Pages

Genre: Historical Thriller



Malcom Van Doren made his fortune in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

By 1853, he spent it all, drowning in debt, and returned to his mine out of desperation.

Steadily, over the years, he went mad.

Known for his lunacy, when Malcom claimed to have discovered gold a second time, no one believed him… not even his family. Too paranoid about his creditors to prove his finding, Malcom Van Doren told everyone he hid his fortune away.

Now, in the year 1880, twenty-seven years after his second discovery, his daughters are each as desperate as he once was for wealth. All of them, for different reasons; revenge, love, or greed.

Three sisters battle to discover their dead father’s gold, but only one will win this race as their own little gold rush ensues.

God help the man that stands between a Golden Van Doren and all that glitters.

Available on Amazon

Buy The Golden Van Dorens on Amazon.

First things first, I do want to note some content warnings for this book: racism, abuse, rape. Just about anything awful that could happen to a person of color or a woman during the 1800’s, realistically, does take place in this book.

The Golden Van Dorens rotates between multiple points of view, and we largely see it through the eyes of the Van Doren sisters: Tabitha, Morgan, and Verity. Tabitha is after her father’s gold because she wants to have her abusive husband killed. She needs to pay off a hit man, and have money to live comfortably afterwards as she doubts he has left her any. Morgan needs to find her father’s gold because her fiancé has been wrongfully accused of rape and murder, and she needs to hire a good lawyer. Verity is after the gold because she wants to live a comfortable life, and knows she must marry rich and secure a fortune of her own.

At first, I found Morgan to be the only likable character, but as more and more information was shared about Tabitha, I really began to sympathize with her as well. She says and does some awful things at times, but contextually I was able to find it forgivable, or at least understandable for what she has gone through. Her scenes were often the hardest to read. She really had a difficult life. She wound up being my favorite character in the book, even though I didn’t like her at first. Verity is such an evil villain but still full of emotion and rationale. This made her very fun to read.

The side characters are also wonderful. I especially liked Coyote, the Sioux guide who works alongside Morgan for much of the book. He might not be a main character, but his character development and history is complex and interesting.

The twists and turns in this book had my jaw dropping at times. Every story was connected, and I was amazed by the author’s ability to weave all three of the sister’s stories, and many of the side characters’, into one cohesive tale.

I really enjoyed this one, though it took me a little bit to read as I didn’t really get into it too quickly. But once I got through the beginning and the characters’ motives became clear, I was hooked. There are a lot of sensitive topics in this one that not all readers will enjoy, but they were handled well, and the author’s note and afterward provide further context. All in all, this was a 4 star read. My thanks to the author, publisher, and Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Nicole is a multi-genre author of over a dozen books.

“The Divorce” was nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards and won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in ‘Urban Literature Magazine.’

She was featured on the cover of Words + Magazine for her book “The Affair.”

She’s known for delving into sensitive and real topics such as in her title “The Love That Hurts” which explored domestic violence with the hopes of giving victims a voice while exposing the red flags of an abusive relationship. Most of her lead female characters are depicted as survivors or evolving overcomers of trauma. Sending a message to readers that every moment and every day they fight for is a victory.

Being of mixed ethnicity, she keeps her cast of characters diverse and tries to highlight the different cultures around the world.

Nicole lives in Virginia with her partner, three children, three stepsons, their amazing Grandparents, and one pretty Pocket-Pittie. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.

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The Golden Van DorensThe Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so much more than I expected. Our protagonists aren’t always lovable, but they are complex and interesting. This one was filled with plot twists and turns. I traded up quite a few times. Content warnings for racism and essentially anything awful that can happen to a woman – but these ladies are tough. My thanks to HFVBT, the author, and publisher for giving me a copy in exchange for my honest review. See my full review at https://bitchbookshelf.com on September 3.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 1
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 3
Review at Book Bustle
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, September 4
Feature at Gwendalyn’s Books

Saturday, September 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, September 8
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a 12″ by 8″ canvas painting of The Van Doren Sisters! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Golden Van Dorens

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