Sydney AveyDynamic Women — Changing Times
Book Review: The Silver Baron’s Wife
The Silver Baron’s Wife by Donna Baier Stein strikes a rich vein of pioneer history. The facts of Baby Doe Tabor’s life are at once typical for some women of her day (late 19th, early 20th century) and atypical. Many women like Baby Doe followed a husband west to seek a better life. Many lived in perilous conditions mining communities. But few chose to work the mines. Fewer still loved the work.
Nothing is typical about the way Stein tells Baby Doe’s story. The author employs literary skill that helps us appreciate the depth of yearning in a woman who finds herself at odds with the social mores of the day. Baby Doe is a complex woman. Faithful to her first husband until she is forced to face a bitter truth, Baby Doe holds out hope for the future against great odds. Hope is a powerful gift.
Judgment was heaped upon Baby Doe for her adulterous affair and marriage to a rich, powerful man. But those who judged likely never walked in the shoes of a woman who experienced little love, safety, and security in life. She had tough choices to make, and all of them involved some sort of censure.
The fascinating attribute that Baby Doe possessed was a rich dream life and an abiding faith. Her writings, preserved by the Colorado Historical Society, attest to that. It takes a very capable writer to mine the essence of personal writing and re-create a credible life. Donna Baier Stein is such a writer.
© Sydney Avey