Review of The Carriage Driver 2, Author Michael Friedman

The Carriage Driver 2 Collection of Short Stories
The Carriage Driver 2 Collection of Short Stories

Sitting in church as a youngster, I often wondered exactly what Heaven would look like. Words from the pulpit about singing songs of praise and worshiping in the light of our Redeemer for an eternity left questions that fell short of a child’s view of Paradise. At the time, streets lined with lollipops, gumdrop trees, mountains of chocolate, soft pink baby dolls, purple bicycles and pretty dresses sounded more like it.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God, Psalm 19:1
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God, Psalm 19:1

With time, my concept of Heaven evolved into a place of “Many Mansions” where we would be reconciled with long lost loved ones, missing pets, regain our youth and revive our forgotten dreams. We would be welcomed into a kingdom paved with streets of gold where there are no tears, sickness or pain.

Mike Friedman, author of The Carriage Driver 2 presents the idea of such an after-world customized to each person’s dream of eternity. His stories suggest to freshly departed souls that a carriage ride to the place of their dreams and a journey to their own paradise on the other side awaits. Filled with stories of warmth, comfort and happiness after a stark slice of reality on this planet, the idea of moving on to the other side takes on a generous helping of hope.

This weather vane sits atop the portico at a local skilled nursing rest home.
This weather vane sits atop the portico at a local skilled nursing rest home.

The Weathervane

In his story, The Weathervane, one of my favorites, a woman departs the rest home where she lives, leaving this realm to rejoin her first and only love; her officer and gentleman. As she steps out of the carriage, she’s transformed into the younger self that lives these days only in her memories. She finds herself clothed in a floral print summer dress wrapped in the loving arms of her long since departed husband. They enter a world of their former happiness with swaying palms, tropical breezes and the familiar cries of drifting sea gulls.

The Gutter Boy

In a different tale, The Gutter Boy, Dylan, finds that life doesn’t have to be filled with abuse and disrespect. He meets two kind doctors, a husband and wife team, through Captain Griffin, the Carriage Driver himself. His time to move into the next world has not yet arrived; only a change in his surroundings and circumstance through which he’s destined to lead a richer way of life and repay his debt with future kindness.

Throughout Time

The carriage driver theme makes its way across time
The carriage driver theme makes its way across time

The Treasure Hunter

Some stories parallel current events, as they do in The Treasure Hunter, a tale about a man who goes missing while in search of buried gold. The author shares that he borrows from the lives of his readers to bring out the harsh realities of life and the impact our choices have on our outcomes. For the treasure hunter, his choice determines his eventual fate; an analogy of the choices we all make as we pass through.

The Carriage Driver (1) is the original collection of short stories in the series.
The Carriage Driver (1) is the original collection of short stories in the series.

A variety of locations, professions, talents, circumstances and outcomes are shared in the settings and characters held within this slim volume, packed with subtle clues and life lessons.

Each, in passing, have a chance to meet Captain Griffin Chaffey who accepts his assignments cheerfully, accompanied by his trusty steed, Nuelle, a white horse whose intuition and spirit shines throughout as she munches on apples and trots to assigned destinations. Sometimes, she enjoys a romp in the surf as part of her reward for a job well done. Other times, she must face the uncertainties of strange and frightening places where darkness and despair lurk.

The Endgame

Mike Friedman touches on the lives of those in high standings and positions of power, of the highly intelligent and privileged and touches those whose disadvantages are many, whose possessions and comforts are few. He tells of those whose lives represent a continuous struggle for survival and those who seem to have it all, yet who face the same inevitable end when their time arrives.

A handmade horse drawn carriage made by my father.
A handmade horse drawn carriage made by my father.

Man Unseen

In The Man Unseen, we meet a young man whose torment began early in life when tormented by schoolchildren and peers who taunted and took advantage of the special needs child. As an adult, his difficulties are multiplied when his mother passes and an unscrupulous man from the bank cheats him out of his rightful home. He’s forced to live out his days on the street in constant danger. His wisdom extends beyond his circumstance when he shares his worldly observations with the driver. “There ought to be rules for men to live by.” It comes as no surprise when he chooses an afterlife filled with generosity toward others who suffer like he did in life.

Within the collection, we meet Sister Sarah, whose hands-on empathy and selflessness is directed toward the less fortunate, the downtrodden and the critically ill. She gives of herself to the point of depleting her supply of healing power when she meets Captain Griffin and her strength returns to continue her valuable work on this earth. The Carriage Driver and Nuelle know how to keep a secret.

Nuelle needs a good bath and a grooming
Nuelle needs a good bath and a grooming

The White Mare

Nuelle, the elegant and intuitive white mare and the captain operate their carriage out of Boston, but the author tells us that in stories across “all cities, towns, boroughs and villages”, others carry on the same legacy. They drive the dearly departed to their chosen destination where they can carry on in the next life. Or if they choose to wait for a brother, a spouse, a child or loved one, “there is a castle in the sky whose spires puncture heaven to accommodate them.”

Worthy tales that bear second, third and ongoing review, the reader will find themselves captivated by the depth of the subtleties and deeper meaning within. This is great reading late at night when the troubles of the world surround you in the peace and quiet of your insomnia. The stories put the mind to rest and restore a sense of calm in a world of turmoil.

The stories have characters with whom it’s easy to relate. They are our brothers, sisters, parents, children and others whose lives encompass every aspect of what we are meant to become while on this journey called life. Their stories are “meant to make you think about the setting of our hereafter…The Carriage Driver is your liaison to the heaven of your choosing.” Don’t be fooled by the free ride. Those who climb on board have paid in advance.

As a separate bonus, the end of the book contains a short stand-alone story titled, “Walking to Goleta,” a tale of companionship, compassion, generosity, ingenuity, and a heartwarming miracle at Christmas time.

© 2016 Peg Cole

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Comments 34 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Peg - Thank you for this. You have made the stories sound filled with hope and triumph. The picture of the weather vane, without the bird balancing is so perfect. Even the clock and the child's toy are perfect examples of what I was reaching for. Of course I will share this. I did not make the connection that your Dad made the carriage driver toy. What a connection!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

I own it, I've read it, I agree! Mike is rapidly climbing the ladder to "expert" status. He passed craftsman a long time ago.


suzettenapkes 6 weeks ago

Beautiful review of Mike's work. His stories are so inspirational and I think this is his best writing ever.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 6 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Peg....First, this review is outstanding, "perfection." You put it all together like an expert~~the words, music, images~sincerely, Peg, I am bowled over. Never read a better review. I bow to your talent.

This fabulous review is matched only by the book itself and spectacular author, Michael Friedman. OUR very own "Mike." I am so proud of Mike and you, Bill, Linda, Maria and every one of our writers who have gone the distance to share with the world, a unique gift.

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of The Carriage Driver 2. It reads smoothly and gently enough to call a reader back, to read again and again. Hmm, "smooth & gentle"...like Mike. I do believe that may just be a secret to the soul of every great writer?

The depth, humanness and inspiration within the pages of this book, creates an intimate look inside ourselves and more importantly, into every person, here or gone, precious or flawed, who have touched our lives in some extraordinary way.

Bravo Mike. Bravo Peg. You are both two of those people in my life.

Love & Peace, Paula


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Mike, it was my pleasure to read these tales and to recap the depth of the message they conveyed. I hope I did it justice in the telling.Thank you for noticing that my Dad made the carriage and its significance in our bond as friends. You are free to use the bird-free photo of the weathervane and any others that I have taken. I appreciate you kindness and generosity in sharing your talents. All the best, Peg.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 6 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

What a treat to read this review, dear Peg... which makes me want to read The Carriage Driver 2 again.

You selected some amazing songs to accompany - will be back several times to enjoy them all.

I love the beautiful connection the horse - drawn carriage has for you and Mike as well - very touching.

Wishing you both a peaceful evening. Hugs, Maria


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago from USA

We could all use well written and uplifting stories. Thank you for the recommendation.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Bill, I agree that with each story Mike's talent grows exponentially. He definitely deserves the expert status. What a treat to be surrounded with quality writers like you, Mike and so many others here.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Suzettenapkes, it's so good to see you here. I think you're right about this being the best stories yet. Hoping the next book will be coming out soon.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Paula, Well, speaking of being bowled over, wow, I am certainly taken over by your amazing comment. I've read your book reviews and have felt humbled by your talent. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

You've singled out what I think is key to these stories as well They give us "an intimate look inside ourselves" to see if we are heading in the right direction and perhaps inspire a course correction, if we're not.

I feel truly blessed to have friends like you and so many others (precious and flawed) whom I hesitate to name for fear of leaving anyone out. Although we've never met, I hope one day we will find each other in our version of the other side.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Mar, Thanks so much for the visit. Reading these stories on paper gave them a whole new life. I still cling to printed books although my eBook reader is getting more of a workout these days. I have several of yours on there along with a selection of books by our mutual friends.

I always think of your reaction when I choose a music video to include. We seem to associate certain things, times and memories to specific songs. I do hope you like these.

Isn't it strange that my dad had a fondness for carriages to the extent that he made several wooden models and I'm fortunate to own four of them. His craftsmanship with wood was something I always admired about him - including the summer I turned 16 and we built a family room, he and I, complete with tongue and groove paneling for interior walls. It was the summer I learned to operate the radial arm saw. Speaking of craftsmanship, Mike's stories just keep getting better and better. I loved this book and rereading it was a total pleasure.

Thanks so much for the kind words. Hugs to you.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello - I want to thank everyone for stopping by Peg's review and of course all your kindness is appreciated.


Happyboomernurse 6 weeks ago

Hi Peg,

I enjoyed this review of Michael Friedman's latest book and the first Carriage Driver anthology. He is a truly gifted author and I love the theme of these books and the way he puts a fresh and tender take on the other-worldly transition of those who step into the carriage.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

What a great job you and Michael Friedman have done in lessening the sense of sadness with views of comfort, hope and reward. Great topic and also a great review!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 5 weeks ago

Ruby, Ruby my gem of a friend

You have showcased Mike's work

Of the Carriage Driver from beginning to end

For all who are hopeful that in heaven they'll blend

To remind all who are steadfast and true

But still need reminding it takes you

Ruby my gem of a friend to all other Hubbers I'll hit share

And to all this wonderful hub I will send.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Happyboomernurse, hello! Long time since I've seen you here. Thanks so much for the visit. I totally agree. Mike is a gifted writer who spreads a veil of hope with his imaginative stories.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Flourish, So nice to have you drop by and read this review. Thank you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

MsDora, yes, comfort, hope and reward for a life well led. Thank you so much for your visit and kind words.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Shyron, thank you for the lovely poem. You are so gifted and talented with prose. I appreciate your visit. Thanks for sharing this.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 5 weeks ago

Thank you Peg for the beautiful tribute. Sorry I accidentally called you Ruby, I guess Ruby was on my mind, but I sincerely meant what I said this is fantastic.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Shyron, the name Ruby is very dear to me. It was the name of my husband's sister who passed away at forty years old, so I enjoyed the poem and the memory very much.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 5 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

This is a wonderful review, Peg. Mike is certainly one of my favourite writers and the Carriage Driver stories can't be surpassed. Thank you for sharing this and accompanying it with some beautiful songs. Well done.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thanks so much, Jodah. I was just over at your other site reading about your efforts and checking things out. Bravo to you on providing a place where creativity can be showcased proudly. I'll be back to visit again soon.

Thanks also for the kind remarks about Mike's terrific book.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 5 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

Thank you for visiting "the other side" :) much appreciated Peg.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 weeks ago from South Africa

Dear Peg, this series of Michael Friedman surely provides happiness and hope. Even though it is fiction, it activates happy hormones that kill our fear of what we don't know and can't comprehend. We may dream, we may fantasize, and at the end of the day all of this give us the strength to move on with no fear in our heart.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

That's a beautiful recap of these stories, Martie. I like what you said, "At the end of the day all of this gives us the strength to move on with no fear in our heart." So true.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 weeks ago from southern USA

Dear Peg,

This is a stellar review of Mike's wonderful stories of The Carriage Driver 2! I am blessed to have received both of these fine books as gifts with a special inscription. I will cherish them forever.

I agree with Paula, this is the best review I've ever read. Your music choice and photos are perfect and I am thrilled you shared the one where your father made a carriage ...so lovely! My mother was was a huge fan of horse-drawn carriages too.

Sharing everywhere!

Blessings


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Faith, These books are a treasure trove of hope and promise. It was an honor to write this review of the stories we've loved and enjoyed here on Hub Pages. How delightful it is to have these printed books to cherish and read. Thanks for sharing about your Mom and for taking time to write such a nice comment.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 weeks ago from Central Florida

Peg, this is an outstanding review! I was surprised a week or so ago by a gift in the mail from a dear friend. Guess what it was? An autographed copy of this awesome book! (Mike, I sent you an email thanking you for autographing the copy that was gifted to me. Not sure if you got it or not.)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Sha -No, I did not see an email from you. Now, I know you received a copy. Please enjoy as time allows.

Hi Peg.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 weeks ago from Central Florida

I sent it to your McBirds address. Is it no longer a valid address?


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

mckbirdbks is the address


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 weeks ago from Central Florida

That's where I sent it. aol?


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Shauna, dear Bravewarrior. I'm so glad that you stopped in to read this review of Mike's wonderful book. Thanks so much for the kind words about the review and for taking time to comment. I know you'll enjoy having the paper copy of the book. It makes for great reading.

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