Westbound

An absorbing novel rooted in a deep knowledge of his native state.
Kirkus Reviews, 01 August 2022

“A wistful multigenerational saga.”
Publishers Weekly, 15 August 2022

“A stunning evocation of the pioneer spirit.”
Chico Enterprise-Record, 21 June 2022

For fifteen years, retired newspaper editor Elliott Madison worked on a book about his great-grandfather’s terrifying voyage around Cape Horn and his great-grandmother’s tragic journey on the California Trail, the homestead they developed into a prosperous ranch in Mendocino County.

Now, in the waning hours of his life, he recalls the day he was contacted by a woman from New York City named Phoebe Crighton, who claims a distant relative was employed as a hired hand on his family’s ranch.

Elliott is perfectly willing to believe that might be true, but when Ms. Crighton abruptly flies out to San Francisco to meet him, he is at once stunned and appalled by her insistence that this relative, a former Civil War infantryman, and his great-grandmother were lovers.

Reluctantly, he agrees to drive Ms. Crighton up to Anderson Valley to see what they can learn about the inter- secting arcs of their ancestors’ lives – never imagining this spur-of-the-moment journey into the past will change his own life forever.

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