Julie Lawson Timmer asked on Reddit.
A good question for finding good books. My own personal favorite is Bound for the Promised Land by Richard Marius, a story of a young man who leaves his home in Georgia for San Francisco in the 1850s, in search of his father who left for the Gold Rush, and the many characters he meets along the way.
And I'm grateful that a commenter mentioned Fear of Beauty. It's an honor to be included with the likes of The Count of Monte Christo, Heart of Darkness and The Goldfinch.