Embracing the Elephant

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"There will be hunger and there will be cold. You will encounter wild animals and wilder men.”

Undeterred by the most dire warnings, in 1848 eleven-year-old Guinevere Walker embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with her widowed father. From her home in Boston she sails to Rio de Janeiro, around Cape Horn, to the rudimentary town of San Francisco -- ultimately arriving at the California mountain range called the Sierra Nevada, known for both its beauty and brutality.   


As Guine and her father struggle to forge a new relationship, they confront the most massive human migration the world has ever known: the California Gold Rush. Hundreds of thousands of fortune hunters from around the globe flood into the burgeoning territory to “See the Elephant” – to experience a great adventure, dig for a golden fortune, face the harshest realities, and search for their own personal truths.   


Embracing the Elephant is a powerful story about one child coming of age at precisely the moment a nation enters its own new age. It is a tale of fierce determination, resilience, discovery, and best of all, hope.  

Independent Reviews

"...historically evocative..."

"Beninger's skillful use of language pulls you into the story and makes the scenes come alive."

"...historically evocative..."

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- Publishers Weekly

"..a journey worth taking."

"Beninger's skillful use of language pulls you into the story and makes the scenes come alive."

"...historically evocative..."

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"Beninger's skillful use of language pulls you into the story and makes the scenes come alive."

"Beninger's skillful use of language pulls you into the story and makes the scenes come alive."

"Beninger's skillful use of language pulls you into the story and makes the scenes come alive."

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- Historical Novel Society

Awards & Honors

IAN - Historical Finalist 2015

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