Robin Weekes, Jonesborough TN.
Sam and Loie Jeromin
No Place to Call Home is a literary fiction novella written by Joseph Woodward. The Woodward family name hailed from London, England, where Ernest Woodward was born and lived until he was seventeen years old. He was born in 1889 to Ruby and Malcolm Woodward, and Ernest had an older sister, named Flossie. Ruby’s health had steadily declined, however, and she died when Ernest was quite young. The five-year-old was doted upon by his father, Flossie, and Miss Adams, who acted as a mother to the two children and took care of the family when Mr. Woodward was away on business. When Ernest was 12, Malcolm met Catherine. She too had lost her husband, and the shared grief was a starting point in a friendship that quickly blossomed into something more. Malcolm was sure that her children and his would make a grand family, and his large house in town would ably fit them all. But there was something off about Catherine, something Malcolm’s children and Miss Adams instantly noted, even if Malcolm was oblivious to it.
Joseph Woodward introduces what he calls the “missing link” in his family history — those years his ancestor spent growing up in London, England before he emigrated to the United States and began working on the Ohio River. I was most impressed by the psychological insights the author displays in examining the life Ernest had before his father met Catherine and noting how it changed after she was installed in the household, and he was no longer considered the young master of the house. Another Chance is well-written and the author’s research into the culture and lifestyle of business-class Londoners at the time gives this historical fiction authenticity. His characters are well developed and credible, and the plot kept me involved and engaged at all times. Another Chance: No Place to Call Home: Lost Between the Continents, Book 1 is most highly recommended.
Ernest and Flossie were lucky children. They lived in London in the late 19th century with their loving father and a housekeeper who looked after them like a mother would. Their own mother was ill with pneumonia and they could only have short visits with her as she was so weak. Another Chance by Joseph Woodward is the first novel in a family saga that tells their tale. Unfortunately, late 19th century London was not the best place to have pneumonia and the children were left motherless at an early age. Miss Adams ran the household and looked after the children as their father, Malcolm, had to travel for work. Ernest and Flossie were close, and life seemed to get back to normal. Although they missed their mother, they spent quality time as a family. However, Malcolm was lonely and missed female companionship. A trip to Edinburgh led to a meeting with Catherine, the confident, self-assured assistant to a business contact. She made it clear that she was interested in Malcolm and he soon became involved with her. Moving both a new bride and a new family into their house was exciting at first for Ernest, but it soon became clear that his position in the family was changing.
Another Chance: No Place to Call Home is a great story and I look forward to reading the next part. Family life can be a minefield, and this is a classic tale of a family in disruption. Another Chance by Joseph Woodward is a well-researched tale of Victorian London and a successful businessman who is involved in a new era of trade. Woodward paints a vivid picture of a successful family that is reaping the rewards from the father’s success yet also describes the poverty and squalid areas near the docks. This is a realistic tale of a stepmother and her children and the impact they have on the household, especially Ernest. This true to life story will keep you riveted and ready for the next installment!
Ernest Woodward’s early life in England was not pleasant. As a teenager, he boarded a ship to America to escape an evil step-mother and step-siblings who were making his life miserable. Initially, he worked on a riverboat until he met his future bride, Frances. He made a bold move to leave the riverboat and work on Frances’ father’s farm. But it was a good move. He learned a lot from his future father-in-law, Mack, and, once married, he felt confident in starting his own farm. Ernest was a hard worker. All he ever wanted was to be successful in life and have a large, happy family. He did both and his passion for family and hard work was passed on to his children.
Joseph Woodward’s Healing Hands: A Place to Call Home, is the second installment in his Lost Between the Continents series. The stories are part memoir, part biography, told in a storytelling format often described as creative nonfiction. The author is telling his family’s story, how his family established themselves in America. The stories are told in great detail, tracing the life of Ernest Woodward and the lives of his children, particularly Ernest’s son, John. The family members are introduced with an interesting narrative and the reader is quickly able to comprehend the complex who’s who of the Woodward family tree. Whilst the story develops as a success story, one where the immigrant to the United States makes a good life for himself and his family, there are elements of sadness and tragedy, which the author tells with compelling testimony as he describes his ancestor’s ability to rise above the tragedy and move forward with strength and perseverance. This is a wonderful addition to a series tracing the Woodward family in America and a great historical documentary on aspects of life in early twentieth-century America.
A Place to Call Home, Book 2, Healing Hands by Joseph Woodward takes up the story of Ernest Woodward as he arrives from England in the USA. Accompanied by his friend Ethan, he accepts a position on a boat that works on the Ohio River. However, Ernest has a different path to follow and is soon employed as a cattle rancher on a local farm. Mack and his daughter Frances realize that Ernest is a fine young man and they welcome him into their home and business. Bonding over the fact they have both lost their mothers early in life, Ernest and Frances find that love is blossoming and receive the blessing of the family. Mack and his sister Grace give them their approval and the union is soon made complete with children. A move to Cincinnati forges their future in the ranching business and they become respected members of their new community. Love and tragedy play a part in their journey as a family and ultimately leads us to the next generation of Woodwards. Ernest and Francis support their eldest son Johnny and his decision to enter the ministry.
This is a beautiful story of a true pioneer and legend that is told by a storyteller extraordinaire. The fact that it is a true story about the author’s family just lends it more credence. Healing Hands by Joseph Woodward is a tale of ambition that has sprung from adversity. Inspiring and uplifting, it tells the story of two young men, Ernest and Ethan, who could have quite easily become overwhelmed by their new surroundings. Instead, they embraced their opportunities and thrived in the brave new world. Family and hard work combine to provide success and contentment. There is yet more to come from the Woodward family and I cannot wait for the next installment. If you sometimes despair about the human spirit, I urge you to read the saga of Ernest and you will once again believe in the power of positivity.
Home is Where the Heart Is forms the final book in Joseph Woodward’s trilogy, Lost between the Continents. Ernest Woodward’s family has grown on the shores of the Ohio River in America. Putting aside the trials of his childhood, Ernest focuses on the triumphs of his life. Ernest’s sister, Flossie, remains in England, working alongside their father, Malcolm. However, regardless of how much distance or time passes by, some things never change. Ernest and Flossie’s stepmother, Catherine, once again raises her ugly head, threatening to seize Malcolm’s company and estate. In the midst of the darkness of Catherine’s evil intent, Malcolm finally sees the light and confides in Flossie. Flossie writes to Ernest asking her brother to return to England to protect their father and his business against their scheming stepmother. The estranged family reconnects, building a bridge from America to England, restoring all that was once lost. Together they right the wrongs, and become a family once again.
Joseph Woodward outdoes himself here. Sudden Freedom is the best of the three books in the Lost between the Continents series! Sudden Freedom is a novel rich with familial love, portraying relatable characters that overcome and unite, using their unique gifts to make a difference in the world. The novel is personable, you really get to know the characters and understand the ties that bind the Woodward family together. In this final installment, the main character, Ernest, comes full circle. The lost son returns home, not as a prodigal son, but as a successful and sensitive hero. Yet, he is not the only one who escaped or was trapped by the wiles of the antagonist. Each member of the family comes to terms with their abusive childhood and is set free from the emotional bondage Catherine imposed on them. Joseph Woodward recreates his family history, revealing the integrity of spirit, and the will to not only survive but rise above tragedy and heartbreak. Sudden Freedom reveals the power of legacy; one man’s visionary hard work is bequeathed to future generations. It was a pleasure to get know the Woodward family.
Home is Where the Heart Is by Joseph Woodward finds Ernest Woodward in America, faced with a decision. His sister has requested that he return to London and help his father solve a family conflict. Meanwhile, in London, Malcolm and Catherine seem to have reached an impasse in their turbulent marriage. The eldest son Charles and the two older girls have left the family home leaving just the twin girls to bear the brunt of Catherine’s bitterness. Ernest returns and reconciles with his father and finally faces the woman who drove him from his home. Expecting to feel anger and hatred, instead, Ernest is overcome with conflicting emotions as a parent himself. He realizes that Catharine had to protect her five children and as such did whatever she could for them. With Catherine gone, the children band together with Malcolm to expand the business and find a whole new horizon to explore. As they forge new bonds the family continues to thrive, and a sad loss only serves to make them even more united.
And so, the story comes full circle. It has been a privilege to be welcomed into the world of the Woodward family and be privy to their story. Joseph Woodward once again takes the reader on a spectacular journey. Filled with inspirational characters Sudden Freedom: Home is Where the Heart Is completes the saga of Malcolm and his extended family. Hard work and innovative thinking ensure that the Woodwards leave their mark not just in England but across the world. Ernest and his family leave you with such hope for the future and I hope to catch up on their exploits very soon. How lucky we are to be able to enjoy this amazing story told by a natural storyteller. Catch up with the story and visit the website; you may even receive a bagel for your efforts!