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The Carriage Driver 2 by Michael Friedman, Book Review

Updated on October 14, 2017
PegCole17 profile image

Peg Cole is a published author who writes true and fiction stories, book reviews, product reviews and how-to articles.

The Carriage Driver is a collection of short stories about the afterlife.
The Carriage Driver is a collection of short stories about the afterlife.

This collection of stories, the second in The Carriage Driver Series by award winning Author Michael Friedman, is about people from every different walk of life who have faced some of the best and worst of what life dishes out. When their time comes, the dearly departed have a new chance at happiness after living in the stark reality of this planet.

The stories depict their travels to another realm, crossing over to the other side, in a joyous journey where questions are answered, options are offered and life begins anew. Filled with an infinite number of possibilities, the traveler chooses their own destination based on their tastes, talents and inclinations while riding in a horse-drawn carriage.

A weathervane on the portico of a local nursing home
A weathervane on the portico of a local nursing home

The Weathervane

In his story, The Weathervane, one of my favorites, a woman departs the rest home where she has spent her final years leaving this life 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 has lived many years only in her memories. She finds herself clothed in a favorite floral print summer dress and wrapped in the loving arms of her long since departed husband. They enter a world of their former happiness with swaying palms, warm tropical breezes and the familiar cries of drifting sea gulls.

Other books by Michael Friedman, The Quinn Moosebroker Series and Braids Angel's Field
Other books by Michael Friedman, The Quinn Moosebroker Series and Braids Angel's Field

Sitting in church as a young person, the vision of what Heaven would actually be like was difficult to imagine. Sermons 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. In the eyes of a child, streets lined with lollipops, gumdrop trees, mountains of chocolate candy, soft pink baby dolls, purple bicycles and pretty dresses sounded more like Heaven.

In The Carriage Driver, those in transition get to chose where they will go and what will be in their ideal forever after.

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.

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.

Clock in an antique store with The Carriage Driver theme
Clock in an antique store with The Carriage Driver theme

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

Each character in passing has a chance to meet Captain Griffin Chaffey who accepts his assignments cheerfully. He's accompanied by his trusty steed, Nuelle, a white horse whose intuition and spirit shines throughout as she munches on shared apples and trots to their 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.

Captain Chaffey is a veteran of the War Between the States who, after losing his own life, remained behind in the battlefield helping others find their way forward.

The Carriage Driver Series includes three releases filled with short stories.
The Carriage Driver Series includes three releases filled with short stories.

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.

The Carriage Driver 3
The Carriage Driver 3

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.

Sister Sarah's Miracle

In this story we meet Sister Sarah, an empathetic and generous worker of miracles. Her hands-on ministry of selflessness is directed toward the less fortunate, the downtrodden and the critically ill. Here, she visits a young girl, the victim of cancer who resides in Mass General Hospital.

Sister Sarah gives of herself to the point of depleting her supply of healing power. When she meets Captain Griffin, her strength returns and she is able 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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    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 9 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Mike, It's always good to see you here. I enjoyed the book so much. I'll be sharing this again.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 9 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Your recent book review led me back here. So, I thank you again for this special review.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 11 months ago from Central Florida

      That's where I sent it. aol?

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      mckbirdbks is the address

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 11 months ago from Central Florida

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

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 11 months 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

      Shauna L Bowling 11 months 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.)

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 11 months 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
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 11 months 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.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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

      John Hansen 12 months 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
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      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 12 months ago from Texas

      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
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

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

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

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

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

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

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 12 months ago from Texas

      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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 12 months 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!

    • profile image

      Happyboomernurse 12 months 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.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 12 months 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.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

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

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 12 months 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

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 12 months 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

    • profile image

      suzettenapkes 12 months ago

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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 12 months 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.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 12 months 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!