The Angel Carver
by Francis Eugene Wood
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Tip-of-the-Moon Publishing Company Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B004W9C7EW
Date: 01 October 1999
I met Francis Eugene Wood, the author of The Angel Carver, at a Christmas craft show. I explained to him that I review for Gumshoe Review, and he gave me this book. I asked him what the book was about, and he described it as a "feel good book". I agree. The story of The Angel Carver takes place in rural western Virginia and surrounds the lives of the residents of a small town. Mr. Wood wove an actual event, the blizzard of 1940, into the storyline.
Rachael is the lead character. She is a young widow with a young daughter and lives on the mountain above the town. Further up the mountain lives an older man named Beecher. Beecher and Rachael have known each other her whole life, as Beecher and Rachael's father served together in WWI and Beecher was blinded saving Rachael's father's life. The bond is strong between Rachael and Beecher and the rest of the family.
Although blind, Beecher produces intricate wood carvings, including angels, lives alone and can navigate the mountain himself as if he still had his sight. Every time a baby is born in the town, an intricately carved angel is delivered to the doorstep of the new family, but there is never a trace of anyone delivering the angel. It is hard to believe that Beecher is able to do it alone in all kinds of weather conditions, so the delivery is a mystery.
The action of the story starts at the mid-point when the blizzard hits and one of the town people is stranded and needs help. If I tell you too much I will spoil the suspense, but I really empathized with the characters and I wanted them to fare well. The Angel Carver is also illustrated with beautiful drawings by Martha Pennington Lewis. The ending includes a spiritual theme that adds to the joy.
I enjoyed reading The Angel Carver. The story is light and happy.