River of Red Gold
​by Naida West
​Book 2–1844-1853

– Continued from Home page

This novel includes many historical figures. The reader sees Sutter and his fort as they were in 1847. Padro Valdez, hoping to acquire a land grant, plays a vital part in the story until vengeance overwhelms him. Indian Mary, Elitha, and Pedro — people from three cultures — experience the cataclysm of the California gold rush. 
 
First published in 1996, this book was updated in 2013 to include new information from readers with letters and other documents found in their attics, but mostly from the website of academic librarian Kristin Johnson: New Light on the Donner Party. This trustworthy site operates as a clearinghouse for existing and new research by interested parties, and it also discusses how she separates myth from fact, given the many contradictory voices.  
Set on the ranch where the author lived for 37 years and left with a heavy heart in 2017.
 
“I was so completely engrossed in this story that I had dreams about it each night as I was reading it.”
– Kelalea, Amazon reviewer