Customer Reviews for

The Woodsman's Daughter

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2005

    An Unforgettable Novel!!!

    A thoroughly engrossing novel set in Southern Georgia in the late nineteenth-century, Ms. Rubio delivers a complex and captivating saga. With well-drawn characters, tragic events and drama, Ms. Rubio shows a deep understanding of the power, conflicts and conditions that threaten our lives as women and men. Monroe Miller is a self-made turpentine farmer who owns thousands of acres of pine woods which he refers to as `Miller Town¿. With great respect for Monroe and living on his land, his workers toil long hours for their boss. Monroe has an ongoing conflict with Lollie Morris who is a neighbour with more money than he. Monroe spends a great deal of time consuming alcohol which is the only way he feels he can deal with the mistake he made in his life. Monroe¿s home life is wrought with hatred from his wife Violet and his eldest daughter, 15-year-old Dalia who sees Monroe as a crass and arrogant drunk. Monroe tries to make amends with his family for the mistake he made but Dalia finds out what the mistake was and begins to hate her father with a deeper passion and conviction. Violet, addicted to opium, spends most of her time in bed and is angered over Monroe¿s weekend drinking binges. Dalia is bold, outspoken and spoiled but eventually takes on the task of protecting her younger sister Nellie Ann, a sickly girl who has been blind from birth. Dalia is neglected by both her drug addicted and distant mother and her absent, drunken father which leaves her life wrought with hard choices and truly heart rendering moments. After learning of her father¿s mistake, Dalia becomes the axe that drives a wedge into any semblance of family the Miller¿s hoped to have. Katie Mae, the family¿s long time cook, plays the role of `mediator¿ in the Miller household. A smart woman who knows the people of the Miller household well and is adept at knowing what makes them tick. Dalia, at nineteen, moves away to the town of Samson with what she sees as her 'effeminate' son Marion and her daughter Clara Nell. Dalia¿s sights are set on hooking a rich man and marrying him. She marries Dr. Herman McKee the town dentist but soon realizes her marriage does not provide the stability, love and happiness that she so craves. Dalia repeats the distance and neglect that Monroe and Violet visited upon her with her own son Marion. Never holding the child, hugging or kissing him. Dalia instead focuses on Clara Nell and literally smothers the girl in protection and adoration. Dalia refuses to allow Clara Nell to be a child, to play jump rope with her school chums or play at recess. Dalia removes Clara Nell from school and hires tutors to teach her at home where she can keep a closer and tighter hold on her daughter. Eventually Clara Nell runs away to marry Dayton Morris who is the son of Monroe¿s enemy Lollie Morris. Clara Nell being a free spirit, with a mind of her own, learns about Margaret Sanger and her fight for equality for women which bolsters her confidence and spiritedness in making choices in her life. Throughout the novel, Dalia is an ambivalent, self-centered and selfish woman who becomes hardened and sullen from her years of trials and heartbreaking situations in her life. Just as Monroe finds redemption for his sinful soul, so does Dalia through her breakdown and stay at the Milledgeville State Hospital where 'the atmosphere is safe and repetitive...' Family visits with Dalia prove to be silent and without conversation. Marion is frustrated with his mother's silence but Nurse Hendricks reminds him that 'melancholia is unpredictable...we must keep our spirits up.' Through Vita, another patient in the hospital, Dalia begins the process of finding redemption, peace and understanding. Upon her return home, Dalia strives to make peace. She sees Marion's baby son, her grandson and says: 'Why Marion, I didn't see it at first, but he has your hands. Those long delicate fingers. The first thing I noticed when you were born were your

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    An Important Novel

    While it is true that The Woodsman's Daughter is a story of women struggling against the oppressions of late-19th/early 20th century South Georgia society--and a covincing one, making us feel the effects of that oppression in nearly every aspect of these women's lives--it is far more nuanced and complex a novel than such a description suggests. Rubio never reduces her characters to simple victims and oppressors. 'Power, pure power,' Dalia says, observing the beauty of her own body in the mirror. And it is. She has power over men's reputations, men's hearts, and men's ideas of themselves. With a near Flaubertian refusal to romanticize, Rubio allows her characters the ignorance that inevitably leads to such power's abuse. Male sensitivity is regarded as weakness, and male weakness is deplorable (Rubio makes female disgust palpable with her prose): it is a mistake, as Anais Nin once wrote, that nearly doomed our culture. The tragedy it brings upon these characters feels inevitable. Men--fathers, husbands, sons--who are too broad-spirited to fit the increasingly narrow ideals of what a man should be are cast into the shadows, where they remain like invisible presences, loving but mostly unloved, while the charlatans take the spotlight and abuse their position with increasingly cruelty. One feels especially for Monroe, who is both charlatan and man, and whose dilemma seems everyman's, as what drives his wife and children away from him seems not only the excesses of work or alcohol or sex, nor even the disease (blown up into all the proportions of Sin, as it is sexual) with which he afflicts them, but the audacity and drive from which these flaws result, and without which he too might very well have remained half-invisible shadow, unnoticed and unloved. The concluding reconciliation makes one wish that these people, women and men alike, had had more courage to empathize--a courage that this novel seeks to give.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2005

    A most compelling story

    I found The Woodsman¿s Daughter to be a work of deep understanding of the conflicts and conditions that threaten our lives. Rubio is both insightful and understanding of the advocacy of the issues that break people¿s hearts such as abortion, marriage and the family. Dahlia¿s trials of childhood neglect, sisterly love and her lifetime of hard choices and heartbreaking moments all made for a most believable and absorbing read. The tribulations of lifetimes of hard living left Monroe, Dahlia and Clara Nell with unresolved wounds that were often inflicted on others as well as themselves. The characters struggled but faced the tensions of their lives in familiar and often dangerous ways. Thank you Ms Rubio and I look forward to more afternoons of pure enchantment with another of your novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    A marvelous novel

    Don't miss this engrossing book about 3 generations in south Georgia. The Woodsman's Daughter features bold characters, a swift-moving story, remarkable detail and emotional depth. Thanks to Ms. Rubio for another fascinating read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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