It is 1860 and revolution is erupting throughout the world over universal emancipation. Civil war looms in the Unites States. In the midst of it all, a young woman is moving back to Boston with what is left of her family, devastated and bankrupted by savage, tragic events that occurred less than a year ago in the Pacific Northwest. They traverse a hostile terrain on the new Panama isthmus railroad, the most modern transportation in the world. From inside their coach they watch the humid forest, a different type of green from what they knew up north, slipping fast past, a warm verdant blur. Looking down the aisle they see an uncomfortable array of fellow travelers, an international mix of characters with whom they will get to know all too well . . . each with hidden hopes and dreams . . . predators and victims, desperadoes and hangmen, widows and widow makers.

A convenient ride through the jungle. An inconvenient assault. A run for their lives.



"Brings to life the uncertainties of a world where languages and customs differ... where there's no information available to ease culture shock between peoples or the confusion over intentions. Take human rights issues, family interactions and struggles for survival, encounters between different peoples, and vivid accounts of this historical period's major issues and mix in the high drama of fiction and you have a story that's truly hard to put down. "

— Midwest Book Review

Isthmus is a gripping, lucid grassroots story… LaSalle declines the strict use of great battles and big men as its fulcrum, opting instead for a look at the people of these times, creating an absorbing social history… a deep, rich, and complex analysis of the people and period surrounding the Isthmus of Panama, the gold rush, and the years before the American Civil War.”

— Debra Hancock, Goodreads Superuser

"An amazing book! I enjoyed each character and their influence on the story. The author did an amazing job and I hope to see another book in the future!"

— Jalynn Patterson, Book blogger & reviewer at A Simple Life