The Angel Carver
By Francis Eugene Wood
Cover by Eldridge Bagley
Illustrated by Martha Pennington Louis
Available on Kindle for $9.99
About the story:
The Angel Carver is actually a story within a story. On Christmas Eve 1998, a young girl named Julianna is troubled by what some of the children at her school are saying about Christmas. They don't believe in Santa, and worst of all they say that miracles and angels do not exist. Julianna seeks answers in a story written by her grandmother.
The story takes place in January of 1940 during a devastating blizzard which, in fact, hit central Virginia. Rachael Lundy and her daughter, Maddie, attempt to come down from their mountain home when the savage storm threatens their lives. A terrible accident occurs, and young Maddie must try to find the one man who can save her mother's life. His name is Beecher Whitman, and he is blind.
The setting for The Angel Carver is Tyro, Virginia, in Nelson County.
The Angel Carver is a must-read. You'll fall in love with Rachael, Maddie, and Beecher Whitman, and the minor characters as well. In these times it is refreshing to read an honest, compelling, heart-warming story of faith and love.
--Dr. William L. Frank, Professor Emeritus, Longwood College, Farmville, Virginia
In The Angel Carver, Francis Wood has woven a touching story of true love and abiding faith, with characters so rich and wonderful that you'll wish they were your next-door neighbors. This beautifully written book is guaranteed to pull your heartstrings and you won't want to put it down until you have read the last page.
--Tina Dean, Assistant Editor, Virginia Writing
The Angel Carver by Francis Wood is his best work yet. The characters in this book are so lifelike that one might feel true kinship with them. Action and suspense, a love interest and more, all are woven together into a delightful picture of life as it existed in rural Virginia only a few years ago. It has some of the flavor of The Waltons, but is unique unto itself in its originality. One should read this book in a quiet place.
--John D. Wilson, President, Colonial Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Note from the author:
The idea of The Angel Carver was born in January of 1989 when I came upon a book of poetry published in 1901 by a long-forgotten American poet. Alfred Castner King had been a lover of nature, a man of the mountains and forests who had embraced the beauty of the natural world with his heart and soul. His poems were written after an accident left him blind.
I have read his poems over the years and, at times, have been overwhelmed by the beauty of his words. King's poetry possesses a spirit that reaches through time and beyond the darkness that shrouded the man. Although little is known of this blind poet, I have taken license with him and based the person of Beecher Whitman on what I imagine to be his character.
For the setting of the story, I chose the area around Priest Mountain in Nelson County, Virginia. Many of the places mentioned within these pages exist today, although I have taken some liberties with their history.
The blizzard referred to in the story is, in fact, commonly known as the great snowstorm or blizzard of 1940. The storm, which was centered in Farmville, Virginia, is well documented. My research came from eyewitness accounts and articles printed in the Farmville Herald and the Richmond News Leader at the time, and available now through the archives at the Longwood College library.
Over the years, I have been afforded the opportunity to work with some of the finest artists in the area, a tradition that I intend to continue. I am proud to have the work of two such artists gracing the cover and inside pages of The Angel Carver. Eldridge Bagley's original painting captures the rustic simplicity of Beecher Whitman's cabin, while lending an air of mystery to his craft. The sketches by Martha Pennington Louis are superb and bring life to the images of the mind. It has been a delight and a writer's dream to have worked with these talented individuals.
My thanks go out to Elizabeth Pickett and my aunt, Jeanne Clabough, for their editing skills and encouragement. It is good to share my thoughts with those who understand and appreciate the depths in which the creative spirit dwells.
All my love to my wife, Chris, who coaxed me into the light with my stories, and to my sons, Camden and Daniel, who have been inspirations to me for all of their lives.
I am also grateful to my mother and father for allowing me freedom as a child and for never denying the spirit of a dreamer.
August 26, 1999