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Book Review: The Woodcutter, by Steven Bartholomew

     The Woodcutter is a Western Historical novel that is intriguing and interesting, and will keep the reader wondering what will happen next until the end. 


     The novel is set in Virginia in the winter of 1888.  A reporter, Dana Reynolds gets fired from as a reporter in San Francisco and is forced to relocate in Virginia.  It is a very different place from San Francisco.  It is much smaller and the people are very different. The author’s portrayal of the characters that Dana met along the way is fascinating and quite intriguing.  The reader will be transported to the place and setting.


     Dana Reynolds gets a job in Virginia as a reporter.  He has a difficult time finding stories to write about until he gets to know quite a bit about the place and how the US government tries to take care of their Native American population.  Dana tries to avoid controversy while writing stories which will be intriguing to all the readers.  This can be a very hard combination, and one in which facts are balanced with interesting anecdotes. At the same time, while Dana was writing these stories he was trying very hard not to get himself into the same trouble as he did in San Francisco when he lost his job.


     As Dana writes his stories, he meets a man named Wovoka.  He is known as the medicine man.  But as Dana gets to know him, he is so much more. He is also known as the Woodcutter because he is a strong and powerful man. It doesn’t take very long for Dana to develop a hunch that the Indian agent in charge of giving U.S. goods to the Indians is taking a generous cut of both goods and money prior to sending it on to the tribe. The Native Americans also suspect this too.


     The reader will see first hand what comprises the life of a writer. It is a lonely endeavour, one that can very quickly be speckled with controversy.  The reader will almost be able to picture Dana sitting all alone in his hotel room, eating, and writing stories that will help readers realize how hard the lives of Native Americans really is. This is a GREAT story idea, but will it get Dana into trouble again?


     The story is spell-binding and captivating.  Bartholomew develops some very intriguing characters. The reader begins to understand the ways the characters think and feel.  The reader will feel transported right into the story and cheering on Dana as he tries to make things better for the Paiute Indians.

Reviewed by:  Irene S. Roth

This review was initially published in Blogcritics

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