It made for a very intriguing read, and was much imitated. Now, after several books for younger readers, Blos returns for only the third time to a larger format written for older children.
Much about Letters from the Corrugated Castle is told us in that title and its subtitle, A Novel about Gold Rush California, 1850-
1852. Blos tells this story through letters, and they allow her much of the same liberty and restriction she found in using the journal/
diary format in her earlier book. Eldora, the young woman whom we follow from age thirteen through her fifteenth birthday, is an inveterate letter writer, keeping in touch with a cousin she left behind in Massachusetts when her parents decided to move to California. Although we never see the letters from the cousin, we can assume her questions and a bit of her life from the rich letters Eldora writes. These were tempestuous years, after the war with Mexico, of the Gold Rush and of California statehood, so a good deal of fascinating history makes its way in, but Blos is careful to keep that information a part of the narrative. It feels necessary to Eldora's excitement rather than some kind of instructive intrusion.