Title: Rest for the Wicked
Author: Naida West
ISBN: 978-0-9653487-0-6
Publisher: Bridge House Books

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Rest for the Wicked is Naida West’s third and final book in her California Series. In this book, readers are introduced to Mae Duffy and her family, who move in 1893 to California from their farm in Iowa with hopes of a better life. Little do they know the gold has dried up and a panic has set in.

After arriving in California, the Duffy family falls on hard times. Her father, Edward, won’t find work and one-by-one her brothers – Emmett, George, and Hank - leave home, with the exception of Farley, who she doesn’t get along with Mae’s mother, Emma. He sinks into a state of melancholy and despite Mae’s best efforts, doesn’t come out of it.

Mae decided she’s going to use her wiles to find a rich man to marry and sets her sights on Jared Sheldon, the son of W.C. Sheldon, a real-life figure in California’s history. She first meets Jared at a Fourth of July picnic and again when she goes to the Sheldon home for a musical afternoon. She witnesses W.C. belittling his grown son, who stutters. After the musical afternoon, Jared gives Mae a ride home and it’s then that she decides she’s leaving for Sacramento, a city that changes her life forever.

I was swept away in a world the author created for Mae Duffy in post-Gold Rush era California. Rest for the Wicked captivated me from the very beginning and held my attention through to the end, leaving me wanting more. Because of the way West wove her fictional characters in with real-life historical characters and vivid descriptions of places and people, I found that I was able to visualize with great detail Mae’s surroundings and the people she met.

Naida West did a wonderful job of integrating historical figures into Mae’s story such as the Sheldon family, the Granlee family, Robert LeRoy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy), Helen Rose, and Billy McCoon to name a few. 

Author Naida West has a Ph.D. in Sociology.  She’s a former teacher and lobbyist at the Capitol who quit in 1990 to write full time. Her inspiration for her books came in the form of artifacts she found on her ranch and stories told by old-timers, some of whose grandparents are characters in Rest for the Wicked.

 Rest for the Wicked is 640-pages and contains 32-pages of historical endnotes. 

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