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The Carriage Driver by Michael Friedman – a review

Updated on March 13, 2016
The Carriage Driver by Michael Friedman
The Carriage Driver by Michael Friedman | Source

The Carriage Driver - Paperback

Michael Friedman's most recent published book, The Carriage Driver, took my breath away. Although I read the pre-published version that was published in HubPages, and although I have come to terms with the fact that electronic books are here to stay, the real book blew me away.

Here I was holding The Carriage Driver in my hand – a real, brand new book! It smelled like a book, it felt like a book. This was quite a thrill after reading too many e-books and online articles in a short time! Did I say that I've read the pre-published version online? I have to emphasize that reading an electronic book is one thing, and reading a real book is a total different experience. Something about paper, about black words printed on paper, about holding a book in one’s hands, makes reading a soul-enriching experience.

The cover of The Carriage Driver is a picture of an antique carriage pulled by a beautiful white horse (named Nuelle). The snow-covered road doesn't go unnoticed. One may get the idea that they are about to read a historical novel, but the blurb immediately warns -

The hereafter or afterlife holds many mysteries…

The Carriage Driver by Michael Friedman
The Carriage Driver by Michael Friedman

The Blurb

The blurb contains comments that were left on chapters that were published in HubPages. To my surprise one of my own comments ​is displayed. “Excellent and quite mysterious!” Wow, a comment of mine on the cover of an accomplished author’s book? What an honour! Well, for a writer that is not yet the author of a published book, this is surely something to brag about.

And this was it! The world and all responsibilities can wait, I am not available for the next hour or two, I decided while getting ready for my trip into the world of The Carriage Driver.

The Introduction, Foreward and Preface

As usual, I never skip reading an introduction, which, for The Carriage Driver, was written by surely the best writer of introductions and blurbs: the author, editor, nurse, teacher, Maria Jordan. “A well-crafted story has the power to change one’s experience of reality,” she explains before telling the reader that The Carriage Driver is a book with healing powers as it has the power to change one’s experience of reality.

And, indeed, it has! As I was reading one chapter after the other, my fear of dying, of knowing that I’m dying, of not knowing what was waiting for me the moment I give my last breath, disappeared. (And ever since I’ve read The Carriage Driver, I simply remember a story or two ​ in this unforgettable collection.)

But here I was still busy preparing myself for an hour or two with The Carriage Driver. The forew​ord, written by the author, Genna Eastman, assured me that I was going to read a genuine Mike Friedman masterpiece. (Well, I knew this, as I’ve read those chapters that w​ere published in HubPages.)

And then came the preface, written by Friedman himself. “We are all led to believe that there is life after death… We are all familiar with images of the boatman in a dark pool…”

And of the tunnel with the bright light at the end, I may add.

The Carriage Driver - Fiction

Now don’t get me wrong. The Carriage Driver is not a documentary with true stories about near-death experiences, or about people who came back after they had spent some time in Heaven or Hell. The Carriage Driver is fiction – an anthology of short stories about people who ha​ve come to the end of their lives as humans on this planet Earth.

The Carriage Driver is also not about Heaven or Hell, but about the journey – that unknown journey between Earth and Heaven (or Hell).

And who says the stories in ​The Carriage Driver are not a true forecast of that journey we know nothing about. Perhaps Friedman was also blessed by that same Holy Spirit that compelled the ​ writings in the Bible. ​Who says, and what great victories have he to his credit to tell us that we may not believe that the trip to Heaven will meet all our expectations?

Be that as it may, the short stories compiled in ​The Carriage Driver gave wings to my imagination, and it will most certainly give wings to any active imagination. It gave me a new perception of what may very well happen when I step into the world hereafter. It expanded my ideas and perception of dying. After all, ideas and perceptions are tools we may use to control our fears.

The power of fiction should never be under-estimated.

Extracts from the Carriage Driver

Friedman’s vivid descriptions and appealing writing style always turn a story on paper (or on a screen) into a movie in a readers mind. This is why he has been one of my favourite authors for the past six years.

The Carriage Driver sat up straight and adjusted his eyes to the evening light. Nuelle stirred but did not take a step. “Hold on,” the old man said. He looked across the grass of the park as a woman hurried towards them. She was carrying something but at a distance he could not make it out. When she arrived next to the carriage, the old man could see she was wearing scrubs and carrying a baby.

Three emergency vehicles raced from the exit drives… one each bound for John Hopkins Hospital. Their sirens cut the silence of the black cold night. The organ transplant system was working full tilt.

“Nuelle pulled from the curb. The wheels rattled along the cobblestones. The Carriage Driver sat straight and was amused as Nuelle led them first down one street then another. She then turned up toward the park, then along a path of the St. Charles. She was slow and deliberate. She went past gazebos trellised with honeysuckle and down a street with clothes billowing on a clothes line. The Carriage Driver realized that Nuelle wanted her passenger to see his first dawn (in the Hereafter).

Michael Friedman, the author, illustrator, publisher

Visiting Michael Friedman's page at, a library of books appears on the screen. Books written by himself and by others, as he is not only Michael Friedman the Author, Michael Friedman the Illustrator, mckbirdbk @ Hubpages, but also Mockingbird Books and Publishing.

Friedman’s Hubpages awards are nowhere on display, except on Hubpages’ blogs – So, I’ve decided to send him a gift – a poster displaying all his awards.

2012-hubbie-award-winners - Best Fiction Writer

2013-hubbie-award-winners - Best Fiction Writer

2015-hubbie-award-winners - Best Fiction Writer

Michael Friedman
Michael Friedman | Source

Recommended reviews of the Carriage Driver

Behind-the-scenes-at-the-carriage-driver by Marcoujor

"The Carriage Driver hears a calling. He prepares Nuelle and the carriage for the final journey. He offers a blanket of comfort and delivers you anywhere you want to go."


"A unique author sharing his stories on HubPages shows magical growth in depth and breadth of content over time. If body or spirit needs refreshing, these are the places to visit, any time of life."

Get your copy of the Carriage Driver today


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    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 16 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Always, ongoing applause for Mike :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 16 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I received my book on Saturday and I'm thrilled to have it in my collection. I agree with Ann, he's the best!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 16 months ago from South Africa

      annart, The Carriage Driver 2 is already available on Amazon - an opportunity for you to beat me with a review :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 16 months ago from SW England

      Great review, Martie! I too love these stories and have the book. I totally agree with your words about his writing; they soothe and they enchant as well as giving us plenty of food for thought.

      I think Mike is one of the best writers I've come across on HP and beyond. I was intending to write a review too but I'm going to have to re-draft after this; it's going to be a hard act to follow!


    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 17 months ago from South Africa

      Hi mckbirdbks! Thank you so much for telling me that I have not missed the publishing of The Carriage Driver 2. Now I can sit back and wait. I'm wishing you lots of energy for the task.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 17 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Martie. Your comment to Peg has brought me back here. Today is 9/04/16 as of yet I have NOT published The Carriage Driver 2. Getting a book put together takes a little time. I have settled on a cover, after many revisions. Within the next 30 days I hope to have all I need to again self-publish.

      Again, thanks for this sterling review.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 17 months ago from South Africa

      Dear Peg, I believe "The Carriage Driver" is an 'evergreen' that will be enjoyed even after faith in heaven no longer exists, as humans are born with a need to believe in an eternal life. Who wants to know that this life is going to be all he will ever experience? I believe "The Carriage Driver 2" was already published. I must go find it, buy it, and add it to this hub. Oh, but as you can see, I've been absent in Hubland for the past 4 weeks. What a shame! But honestly, I've lost the ability to keep all my balls in the air. They just fall on the floor and stay there until I pick them up again. Seriously!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      I came back to read this book review again, just like I turn again to the stories in the book for comfort, peace and a sense of well being. I like your description, "Reading a real book is a total different experience. Something about paper, about black words printed on paper, about holding a book in one’s hands, makes reading a soul-enriching experience." How true that is. I love my copy of Mike's book.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 22 months ago from South Africa

      @ Shanmarie - I give it my best :)

      @ Shyron - Thanks for sharing. Like all Michael Friedman's work, The Carriage Driver is a book that should be read and pondered :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 22 months ago from Texas

      Marti, I enjoyed this so much, I had to come back and read it over again.

      I will be sharing it also.

      Hope all is well with you!

      Blessings my friend

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 22 months ago

      Don't let work make you sick! I'm not going anywhere, at least not purposely. We'll catch each other when we can. :) HP is a place to be missed, though, when we spend too much time away. Hugs

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 22 months ago from South Africa

      @ Nellieanna

      @ shanmarie

      @ AliciaC

      @ bravewarrior

      I am so very sorry for being so scarce these days. Reality and an almost unbearable workload prevent me from spending time with my favorite friends. Hopefully I will soon be rescued by an office assistant. But I don't miss an episode of the Carriage Driver! I hope Michael Friedman will soon publish a second anthology.

      @ mckbirdbks - Of course, writing a review of The Carriage Driver was easy, as it can only be praised and valued. It is amazing to know how far you can go with the theme 'journey to the hereafter' :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 22 months ago from South Africa

      Love you, Nellieanna!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha - let me jump in here ahead of Martie and say thank you. The Carriage Driver stories grew and grew. I think there are now 38-39 of them. I am not sure where to go from here with the stories. I have one more written and half of another one in draft form. Thank you for following these stories and all the kind comments along the way.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 22 months ago from Central Florida

      Martie, this is a fabulous review! I love the different angles you took over most book reviews.

      I love Mike's Carriage Driver series. His fiction prowess glows in each and every story. You can tell that the stories and characters inspire him to think deeply of the possibilities, of what traversing from this plane to the next may be like, and he makes each journey pleasant for the leads. His metaphors and exquisite setting of each scene seem to be a product of the spirit (or muse) that takes over in each theme. I've long looked forward to Fridays when he posts each beguiling chapter on HP.

      I can't say enough about The Carriage Driver. It's amazing and touches each of our emotions with every read.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for this lovely review, Martie. The book and its stories sound beautiful and definitely worth reading.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 23 months ago

      Good to know! I will read some this week. I managed an entire week off work for a trip out of town that got postponed until later this summer. So I am just enjoying the time with my kids and to do a little more of what I want without the pressure.

      You also come highly recommended by a few friends and fellow hubbers for assisting with publication, by the way.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello FlourishAnyway. Thanks for stopping by and supporting Martie’s hard work putting together this review. It could not have been easy.

      Hi shanmarie. You are in luck, each of The Carriage Driver stories is a stand alone work, complete in itself. If you go in with an understanding of the premise, that you picked up here in this review you will immediately get the storyline.

      Hello drbj/sherry. So sorry for your loss. These stories may bring moments of solace. Your Mother was quite a lady.

      Hello Nellieanna. It has been a privilege to help so many of my friends/authors here on Hubpages prepare their work for publication. I have quite a bookshelf filled with signed books.

      Hello Martie. I sure hope you feel like it was worth your time to put this review together.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 23 months ago from TEXAS

      Ah. I have many stories about the ranch. Thank you, dear.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      @ Shanmarie - I just can't imagine having a bubble bath without a book.

      @ Sherry - The Carriage Driver is the ideal book to read at this time. It will comfort you and give wings to your imagination :)

      @ Nellieanna, we all hope to see our beloveds welcoming us on the other side. Perhaps one of your wishes is to go to the ranch, and to stay there? Maybe you have a story about the ranch? I think you will know what I meant after you have read a story or two :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 23 months ago from TEXAS

      Martie - thank you, though I'm not sure what is meant by:

      ". . .Why not share one of your possible trips with Mike? Let him write 'your story'.. . . "

      Would that be a trip of my imagination?

      I'll follow up on the link by Maria in your hub as mentioned. Perhaps that will clarify it. Nothing about Mike's generosity and openness to others' works and interests would surpass me. And I am so impressed and amazed at the interaction between those who've commented on how his work has benefitted theirs!

    • profile image

      drbj and sherry 23 months ago

      You did a Superfine review of the The Carriage Driver! Very comforting at this most difficult time. I will buy the book and read it. I too love to hold a book and see the black print before my eyes. My Mom had quite a collection of books.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 23 months ago

      Okay, Martie, I confess that I stayed away from HP for quite some time for various reasons. Mostly life got so busy and I find that it gets harder to find time to read. But every now and then, a girl's got to do what a girls got to do! How did you know I was looking for a new book to read? LOL The last one I read was actually a surprisingly good mystery, but not the thriller kind. This book sounds equally intriguing. Especially since I keep seeing this title in the HP news feed and wanting to read, but afraid I'll be too pulled in and not have time to finish. Perhaps I should declare myself unavailable one day. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm never unavailable with kids around. Nonetheless, I make time to read those paper books in hand. They go places electronics don't - like to a long, hot buble bath. hehehe

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      @ Nellieanna, oh, I'm sure The Carriage Driver is going to give wings to your imagination. Why not share one of your possible trips with Mike? Let him write 'your story'. Maria's 'Behind the curtains of the Carriage Driver' - link in my hub under 'Recommended reviews' - assured me that he is open for special requests. Thanks for buying your own copy. This is such an encouragement for me to write more reviews as you know this is my second effort.

      @ MsDora - Ohhh, I hope Nancy and drbj meet each other. Go figure!

      @ Flourish - I know you will love the stories and the delighting ideas Michael Friedman gives his readers.

      @ mckbirdbks - You are the best!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

      Very nice review! You've done such a lovely job here highlighting his work!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Theresa. Your comment here and on episodes of The Carriage Driver offers so much encouragement to continue writing stories. I appreciate your comments and compliments regarding the stories. Thank you.

      Hello John. Martie throws a great book party. I have sent off a copy of this book to one of the biggest production companies in Los Angeles. I am not much of a salesperson, the book will have to sell itself. I thank you for your support of this series.

      Nellieanna, what a sweetheart. Thank you for getting a copy of The Carriage Driver. I hope you spend a few pleasant afternoons with the stories.

      Hello MsDora. The Carriage Driver sheds light on the hereafter. I hope you get a chance to read some of the stories.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 23 months ago from The Caribbean

      Just finished watching Nancy Reagan's funeral, and cherishing my own thoughts about death. Thanks for the review. You make me want to read the book.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 23 months ago from TEXAS

      Whoopee! I'll have it Monday!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 23 months ago from TEXAS

      I'm heading right to buy the book! I hope it's on Amazon, where I have a Prime account. If not, I'll order it directly right here.

      What an intriguing review, Martie, - and, of course - Mike is an awesome writer and thinker. I am so drawn to this book!!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      @ Faith Reaper

      @ Jodah

      Your comments are impressive mini-reviews of The Carriage Driver. I agree, the stories will make an awesome TV-series. How does one peddle them to the TV-stations? I hope Mike is going to find a way :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A wonderful and well deserved review, Martie. I adore the series Mke has posted as hubs and know I have to purchase the book, as I do the books of some other hubber friends. I am just a little slow. I told Mike that he should peddle the Carriage Driver stories to the TV stations. It wold make a great series. Thank you for highlighting this book and Mike's other worthy achievements. Great hub.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

      Oh, Martie, Your review of our dear Mike's book is superb! He is not only a special man but one amazing creative writer. The Carriage Driver is such a special book and I will always cherish it. I do feel the same as you do about holding it in my hand. I love the beautiful cover so much. I don't believe there is another book out there quite like The Carriage Driver. Mike's stories are magical and take us to places beyond our every day lives and his characters we come to love as we experience their lives and after! Mike's words paint masterpieces before our eyes with his attention to detail. Well done, Martie abd Mike! Hugs and much love to you both

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      @ marcoujor

      @ always exploring

      @ Peg

      @ Shyron

      @ avian novice

      Thank you so much for your comment. The Carriage Driver is indeed a perfect gift for men and women, and ideal for reading before putting out the lights. It also allows us to believe that there is a Hereafter to look forward to.

      @ Mckbirdbks - Thanks again, Mike, for giving us so much pleasure with your writings. Producing an episode once a week is not easy, and yet you manage to do it. Yes, sitting on a cloud to infinity and beyond isn't really something I look forward to. I would like to do something important to the benefit of this awesome universe.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Nell. I agree Indie authors have to stick together.

      Hello Bill. Thank you. Martie did such a nice job.

      Hi mar. I agree Martie did a really nice job here. Makes me want to buy a copy. Thanks for your support.

      Hey Ruby. I am sure that the next leg of the journey is going to be another great adventure.

      Hello Peg. What a beautiful thought. We all seek comfort and support, and that is one of the things I try to convey in this work. No one I have talked to says, ‘yeah, great, I am going to sit on a cloud all day.’

      Hi Shyron. Your support has been appreciated throughout the writing of this series.

      Hello aviannovice. Thanks for your support of Martie and her work here in this article.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I was quite pleased to see this, which has piqued my interest. I suspect that when I meet my own end, I'll never even realize it.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago from Texas

      Wonderful introduction to Mike's book about the Carriage Driver, drawn by the beautiful Nuelle. I think of the words that are in a song when I think of Nuelle: the color of the sun with eyes of green.

      I thank you for this and it makes me want to have this in my library to read at my leisure and re-read my favorites.

      Blessings always.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 23 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Beautifully expressed article on this quality book. This is a book that I return to late at night when I'm troubled and in need of comfort. It provides a pleasant glimpse into what might lie ahead when we finish our journey here and move on.

      Like you, Martie, I was pleased to find my comment among others on the blurb at the back cover. What an honor! And what a privilege to know a high caliber writer like our mutual friend, Michael Friedman. I treasure my copy of The Carriage Driver.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 23 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a great review of a wonderful book. I have my copy plus a couple of my friends received copies as a gift from me. They love the stories as much as I do. Rarely do I read a book that causes tears but this is an exception. His writing makes the afterlife a thrilling adventure. Well done Martie. Love and hugs...

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 23 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Martie,

      You did a stellar job on reviewing a book that is one of my all time favorites.

      Hoping all who read this will consider purchasing a copy for themselves and a friend ~ a gift that will be forever treasured.

      Love and hugs, mar

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      Thank you, billybuc! Your comments are precious and greatly appreciated :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      mckbirdbks, The Carriage Driver is a refreshing view on dying. The stories are 'real' - as they are a realization of our hopes and wishes. We have read so many near-death experiences. Whatever they are, the stories in The Carriage Driver fit the concept and give us something to hope for. I look forward to the The Carriage Driver II :) Thank you for all the work you put in your writing. All of it to the benefit of your readers. We all need to escape from reality :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A wonderful review for a wonderful book. Great job all the way around, Martie....Mike!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Martie. What a pleasant surprise. I find this review most appealing. You seemed to have been receptive to my ideas about what comes next for you and others lucky enough to have gained admittance to the next positive step in their journeys. Writing this series has been difficult at times. I think there have been 37 episodes published so far. Twenty-eight of them are compiled in the book that you have reviewed here.

      Along the way, I developed some favorites. Funny that I recognize which stories your quotes are extracted from with ease.

      I appreciate your hard work in putting this together and making sense of the message. As I see it, no matter what the hereafter brings, we are all ready to face it.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 23 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Nell! I think Mike's idea behind these stories is brilliant. Realizing his idea was quite courageous as you know the church fathers discourage all creative thoughts about death and the Hereafter.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 23 months ago from England

      Great review Martie, sounds like a great book! and yes I agree, there is something special about a real book compared to an ebook, we have to support each other, and this a great way to do it, nell