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The Silver Baron's Wife
by Donna Baier Stein

Published: 2016-09-15
Paperback : 224 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
The Silver Baron's Wife traces the rags-to-riches-to-rags life of Colorado's Baby Doe Tabor (Lizzie). This fascinating heroine worked in the silver mines and had two scandalous marriages, one to a philandering opium addict and one to a Senator and silver baron worth $24 million in the late 19th ...
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Introduction

The Silver Baron's Wife traces the rags-to-riches-to-rags life of Colorado's Baby Doe Tabor (Lizzie). This fascinating heroine worked in the silver mines and had two scandalous marriages, one to a philandering opium addict and one to a Senator and silver baron worth $24 million in the late 19th century. A divorcee shunned by Denver society, Lizzie raised two daughters in a villa where 100 peacocks roamed the lawns, entertained Sarah Bernhardt when the actress performed at Tabor's Opera House, and after her second husband's death, moved to a one-room shack at the Matchless Mine in Leadville. She lived the last 35 years of her life there, writing down thousands of her dreams and noting visitations of spirits on her calendar. Hers is the tale of a fiercely independent woman who bucked all social expectations by working where 19thcentury women didn't work, becoming the key figure in one of the West's most scandalous love triangles, and, after a devastating stock market crash destroyed Tabor's vast fortune, living in eccentric isolation at the Matchless Mine. An earlier version of this novel won the PEN/New England Discovery Award in Fiction.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

Prologue

Matchless Mine, Leadville, Colorado
March 1, 1935


I know she’s here. Even if I can’t always see her. It’s the warmth I feel at the base of my spine, the sense of a hand almost brushing my shoulder, that tells me Mama’s spirit hangs nearby. There, by the bed with its snarl of gray blankets. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. What would it be like to live as a woman in the late 19th/early 20th century? What rights and comforts do we take for granted today?
2. Have you ever dreamt of loved ones who have passed away?
3. Has your own spiritual journey been tied to a particular religious institution? How do think Lizzie managed to keep her faith even after being excommunicated from the church?
4. Do you think Lizzie married Horace for love or money?
5. What part of Lizzie’s life most interested you? The years she spent in Denver living in a villa with 100 peacocks in the yard or the years she spent alone at the Matchless Mine?
6. What does Lizzie’s life tell us about wealth?
7. Lizzie enjoyed many things society tell us will fulfill us: marriage, motherhood, and money. Do you think these do ultimately fulfill us or are we always looking for something more?

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Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by Heather W. (see profile) 10/02/18

 
  "Great BookClub Read!"by Emily V. (see profile) 08/13/18

My bookclub won a copy of this book and not only did I enjoy the book but it gave us great discussions. I'm not typically a historical fiction reader but the characters in this book were compelling. She... (read more)

 
by heidi T. (see profile) 07/16/18

 
by debra t. (see profile) 05/29/18

 
by Alison R. (see profile) 09/09/20

Well written, rich in history and memorable characters. Baby Doe’s life is a compelling story!

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