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Heart’s Gold by Joan Rawlins Husby

When Melinda McCrea comes to Monte Cristo—an 1890s mining town in the Cascade Mountains—she vows she’ll never marry a miner.
She dreams of teaching school, although getting the necessary education seems impossible. Then Monte Cristo’s schoolteacher resigns, and Melinda is asked to fill in.
Meanwhile, disgruntled miners blame Cornish newcomers for the loss of their jobs. Their leader, Anton Cole arranges an “accidental” mine explosion to push his agenda. Quintrell Chenoweth, guardian and uncle of Melinda’s seven-year-old friend, Evan, and a voice for reason in the fledgling union movement, is trapped with others and injured while leading them to freedom.
In November, floods wreck the railroad, isolate the town, and close the school. Melinda flees with Evan and other townspeople. Quin takes them to safety in the new city of Everett. He asks her to marry him. Then an unexpected turn of events puts college within Melinda’s reach. Will she pursue her dream or choose an uncertain future with her two loves?

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