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Trouble in Nathan's Woods - book cover       Trouble in Nathan's Woods
Maine Authors Publishing, 2023 
 

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Excerpts

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Map of Nathan's Woods

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Summary
     It’s not enough that eleven-year-old Nathan Moulton has trouble handling his feisty new horse. War rages in Europe in 1917, yet Nathan learns that enemy spies lurk in New Hampshire, where he lives in his family’s lumber camp—and they intend to burn the woods! Terrified of fire, Nathan’s suspicions and fears deepen as he tracks a new teamster and discovers strange clues. Convinced the man is a spy, Nathan and his friend Orey desperately try to thwart his plan and save the lumber camp. A fire breaks out in the sawmill, and Nathan hears the teamster screaming inside. Struggling to overcome his fears and his hatred for the enemy, he coaxes his horse to help pull the man to safety. But can he save the camp?
     My novel was inspired by photos and diaries of family members who lived in a large lumber camp during the First World War. My family owned Paris Manufacturing Company, in South Paris, Maine, where they manufactured wooden sleds, skis, and other products. They operated a lumber camp in New Hampshire and my father spent his early childhood living in the camp. The book includes several archival photos of the real lumber camp and its logging operation.
Comments:
     Lois Lowry, famed children's author, enjoyed reading the book. She wrote, "I hope it finds its way into Maine classrooms so that kids can be transported into that place and time."

     Chris Van Dusen, Author/Illustrator says: “Life in an early 1900s New England logging camp is described so well in this book, you can practically smell the sawdust. Packed with adventure, mystery, and historical facts, any outdoor loving 12-year-old is going to be hooked from page one.”

Comments from a few other readers: 

     "...a delightful book. I especially liked the ending where love overcomes hate!"

     “I really enjoyed the book even as an adult. Cute plot and the historical details of WWI and the New England lumbering industry were craftfully intertwined.”

     "I just finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it! I had to slow down reading it because I didn’t want it to end." 

      "It was such a fun read!"

Excerpts:

   from Chapter 1, "Lucky"

     I could hardly believe Pa bought me a horse ’cause I sure didn’t deserve one. That’s why I named her Lucky. I ran like wildfire down the dusty road, past the bunkhouse, straight for the barn. I stepped into Lucky’s stall and hugged her, sniffing her musty mane. Then I pumped her a bucket of fresh water. Suddenly, I heard footsteps near the back of the barn—heavy footsteps—coming closer and closer. I darted behind Lucky and peeked out from her stall. A stranger stomped out of the tack room, hefting two huge harnesses, one over each shoulder. His jaw rigid, his scowl fierce, he looked as big as a draft horse—and mean. 
     … I stared at him as he marched our two big Belgians toward the barn door. The old floorboards shook. The horses looked like twins, creamy tan with white manes and tails—and thick hairy ankles. When they clomped past Lucky’s stall, the man shifted his steely eyes toward me before I could duck down. 
His glare shot through me like an arrow. I shook worse than the floorboards. My legs felt like jelly. “What’s that scary man doing in our lumber camp?” I whispered to Lucky.
     She swished her tail at the horseflies.
   from Chapter 16, "The Letter"
     We crept up to the cabin, crouched down under the window, then slowly raised our heads to peek inside. I didn’t hear anyone breathing. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. The cabin was empty.
     “All clear,” I said.
     The door creaked when I pushed it open. …
     The wind began to whistle, and tree trunks groaned. Orey decided he should stand guard outside. I found two loose boards and lifted them, one at a time. When I reached down inside the dank, musty space, my mitten bumped into something soft. I jumped when it moved. After I caught my breath, I said to Orey, “There’s nothing here but a mouse nest.”
     Then my mitten hit something hard. Carefully, I felt its shape. It didn’t feel long like a gun or a knife or round like a hand grenade. It felt square. I shook all over. Was it dynamite? Maybe I shouldn’t lift it out, but I couldn’t resist. Ever so slowly, trying not to shake it, I pulled up a rusty box by its handle. “Orey, I found something—a tin box!"
 
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Map of Nathan's Woods
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