The Lucky Hat Mine

Colorado Territory, 1863

What’s a Southern Belle to do?

Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancé, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly arrives.

Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law-to-be, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.

The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for a rousting historical mystery.


The Lucky Hat Mine receives a bronze medallion in the 2018 Will Rogers Medallion Competition for Western Humor

Santa and Mrs. Claus enjoying The Lucky Hat Mine


“The Lucky Hat Mine, filled with period detail and real-life pioneers…, is a spirited…tale.” –Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post, January 6, 2017

“Hilarious, endearing and intriguing, this book has everything for everybody to enjoy it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I am sure it will stay with me for a very long time.” –Audiobook Reviews, January 23, 2017

A good book and a cup of tea…

Author J.v.L. Bell with the book and audiobook
Linda's celebration cake!!!
Barb and Maryanne made 13 pies. YUM!!!
Annie made J.v.L. Bell's beautiful dress.
Kevin made a pie and Jane did all the decorating!
Nancy Wu doing the Reading
A host of Characters
Tess came as Charlotte Card
Dave came as Mr. Griswold
Annie was Mrs. Gilson
Nancy Wu, Narriator, and J.v.L. Bell
Andy came as Buttercup
30th Street Fiction - The Best Critique Group Ever!
Miners Linda and Jon
J.v.L. Bell with daughters Tess and Corrie
Kelly looks amazing
Cindy running the costume contest
Jane's amazing decorations
Lemon Calf's Feet Jelly
All types of pies
J.v.L. Bell with Laura the amazing Piano teacher and good buddy Sheala
Joe and Peggy

What People Are Saying about The Lucky Hat Mine

Winner of Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Rating


“The Lucky Hat Mine combines murder, mystery, gold mining and life on the early frontier in a perfect blend of fact, fiction and diversion. J.v.L. Bell has certainly done her research of the times and written a story that was hard to put down…. I recommend this book to young and old, mystery and historical readers, and those who just enjoy a well written book.” – Readers’ Favorite

“JvL Bell’s recipe for a great story, simmer a heroine in danger, add a dash of history, and spice with humor.” – HL Miller, Author of the PT Thomas Series

“The book is a spicey combination of fact and history, frosted with local lore.” – Tony Clark

“An intriguing, fast-paced mystery lovers of westerns and coming-of-age tales alike will love.” – Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, poet-editor

“A funny, thrilling and scary tale of a pioneer woman’s quest to solve a murder, and find acceptance — and yes even love — on the rugged frontier.” – Tim Mahoney, author of the Mick Powers Historical Mysteries

The first (and maybe best) book I have edited is finally published! And by a real publisher! It’s a delightful fiction mystery jam-packed with some real history of the Colorado territory in 1863. I highly encourage you to check it out and buy a copy for yourself, your mother, your cat, and maybe even an audiobook copy for your neighborhood squirrel.” – Nicki Duggan, editor

More information about J.v.L. Bell’s Books: – Books in the Right Order

13 Responses to The Lucky Hat Mine

  1. Heather Schrock says:

    I read your book loaned to me by my neighbor. I’m a fan of historical fiction style, so I told her I’d love to read one of area, live in front range, Erie, Co, to be exact. I enjoyed the easy flowing read, it was nice to read about 1860’s gold rush and Idaho Springs area before over population and progress of modern man took place. The gourmet cooking them was brilliant for men always love a great cook, coupled with a great cabin and mine stalk. The goat from her friend was a cute twist. The reference to NOLA and how they were civilized and the contrast to the west was cute and all her books to proper, cooking and such. Overall a very nice read for a cabin this past weekend in Kremmling, at 9000 feet. We went to see the galaxy and metor showers, hiking and down time for electronics. So thank you for this nice local historical read.

  2. Nancy Weinkauf says:

    We would love to have you come to our book club meeting. Is that a possibility?
    I can send you particulars if you are interested.

  3. Linda Larson says:

    Excellent read. Enjoyed the twists and mystery as well as the characters. The basis in Colorado was also interesting to an almost native Coloradan. Would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn a little history and just to get a wonder story.

  4. Nan Jarvis says:

    Finished your book last night. I loved it. Hope you have another one on
    the way? I live on Lookout Mt. west of Denver and not far from Idaho
    Springs. I love books on early Colorado days, both fiction and non-

  5. I truly enjoyed The Lucky Hat Mine and went right into reading your second book. Oh, poor Dom will he ever not be in trouble? I bought your books at the farmer’s market in Dillon. They are just such an inspirational, fun read. I would enjoy doing a little write up about them.

  6. Karen Gallob says:

    Although I wish I could tell you I bought it, because that is more helpful to a starving author, in fact I stumbled onto The Lucky Hat Mine when browsing our local library. What a relaxing, enjoyable read, very well done. I love your historical perspective and the detail about gold mining, and your characters are a hoot. Great goat. Are you writing another? I will recommend this one.

    • JvL Bell says:

      Thanks so much Karen. I’m glad you enjoyed The Lucky Hat Mine. The sequel is Denver City Justice. If you read it, please let me know what you think. The publisher has the third book and it should be coming out later this year or early next year. Thanks so much for the note! – Julie

  7. Pingback: J.v.L. Bell Guest Blog | Women Writing the West

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