Sure an' there's no lack of eventfulness in the young life of Mary Katherine Mulloy, beginning with the Irish potato famine that kills off her numerous family except for brother Joe and launches her on a chin up odyssey first to New York and, later, around the isthmus of Panama to the California gold fields in search of her lost sweetheart Alan O'Dugan. Mary Kate is by her own description a ""big, strong girl"" -- strong enough to survive the uncountable deaths and tragedies and awkward situations and come up fighting. And to recover from the (anticlimactic) shock of Alan's death by wedding gambling man Will Prouty. As fermentative a concoction as Never Jam Today (KR, 1971) but in surroundings that are both rougher and more familiar. Dig right in, and hope your appetite holds out.