My review of The Woodcutter’s Wife by David Johnson

I was really attracted to read The Woodcutter’s Wife as I’m a big fan of historic fiction and the fact that this novel is set during the America Civil War really appealed to me. Also I love the cover!

The Woodcutter’s Wife tells the story of Mary Thompson who is married to William, a woodcutter. Hence she earns the nickname of the Woodcutter’s Wife. Mary is a modern woman; working alongside her husband, spirited and independent.  She even appears to be a bit of a super woman, beautiful and known for killing a bear. However Mary has her own personal tragedy that she struggles to come to terms with.

Then as the Civil War intensifies, more tragedy comes to Mary’s door as William mysteriously goes missing.


This is a novel that had all the elements of a fantastic plot and one I thought would truly stir my emotions. For example, through the character of John the subject of the slave trade is explored.

However I’m sorry to say that I found The Woodcutter’s Wife a disappointment. For me throughout the whole novel there was something missing; I found it flat and lacked dramatic tension. All the characters had so much potential but I felt they didn’t have any real depth to them. Also in my opinion they were all too righteous, hence making them one-dimensional and if I’m honest, boring.

There is no denying that Mary is dogged by tragedy. Yet I couldn’t help feeling that the tragedies were all very convenient to keep the story moving. They were also pretty predictable and it was easy to work out the ending.

I did consider giving up on this novel. However I’m glad I didn’t as the story does get better towards the end and I actually found myself slightly investing in the characters. For example, I was slightly on edge at one point, but on the whole, The Woodcutter’s Wife was all too predictable for me unfortunately.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kindle Press for sending me a proof copy in exchange for my honest review.

Publication date of The Woodcutter’s Wife: 4 July 2017

My rating:


  1. Maria from Oz
    December 19, 2018 / 4:57 am

    Thanks for your honest review. I am halfway through this kindle edition and I am struggling with just starting something else! I am, like you, finding it flat and one dimensional. I keep wanting ‘something’ to happen but it is rather a droll book actually. I will persevere, just so I can tick it off my list!

    • December 30, 2018 / 9:19 pm

      Have you finished it? What did you think in the end?

      • Maria from Oz
        December 31, 2018 / 12:24 am

        Yes, I have finished it only a few days ago! Honestly there were times I thought, why why why am I bothering? Other times I felt it AS getting somewhere then it would go back into a plodding style of day to day chores list almost! I felt it very long winded and could easily have missed some of the pages and still figured out what was going on.
        I enjoyed the character of John, felt he had his own story worth telling which I think was more interesting than Mary’s.
        I found the modern language in the speech of the characters rather annoying. There were lots of mistakes in the book too. At the end where William takes the hands of Mary and Thomas, he has them in BOTH hands yet he lost one! Little things like that were frustrating me.
        Storyline whilst interesting since I love anything to do with the Civil War, was tedious.
        Cheers from Australia!

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