By Ron Geigle
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blasting railways into the side of mountains, scaling Douglas firs that tower 200 feet. These visions draw 18-year-old Albert Weissler to a job with the Skybillings Logging Company in the high mountains of Washington State. But a train crash on a mountainside that kills a friend, and Albert's discovery that it was sabotage, quickly dash boyhood dreams and launch a saga of love, grand dreams, and transformation in the turbulent world of big-timber logging and labor unrest in late-1930s America.
This is The Woods, part coming of age story, part historical novel. It is the story of Albert learning to survive in a dangerous and unforgiving environment; Albert's mother, Lydia, struggling to restart her life after Albert's father is killed in the woods; WWI veteran and Skybillings owner, Bud Cole, trying to rebuild his dream after the market crash destroyed him; and savvy firebrand Clare Ristall campaigning to win a political election, build a new union - and win Lydia's love.
The Woods is a beautiful panorama of lives and dreams during one of the most defining moments of American history, as have's and have-not's, the powerful and the ordinary, struggle to survive in the wake of economic upheaval. This is a book that paints the inner complexities and nuances of its characters as beautifully as it portrays the raw splendor of the Northwest's ice-topped peaks and unrelenting natural power of the woods themselves.
Ron Geigle’s experience growing up in the Pacific Northwest shines through in his eloquent writing of Washington, both the rural and urban areas. I appreciate how easily he captures the beauty of the land in his story.
The Woods is a historical fiction novel rich with interesting and believable characters. It’s set in the 30s during a time of unrest with loggers and unions, including the not-so hidden political pulls as well.
A tragic accident on the logging site has the Skybillings crew uneasy about it’s future. The deaths of three men shake up the blue and white-collar men involved in the small logging company. One of the young loggers, Albert, unknowingly begins to unravel a mystery.
This is a deep and exciting story about a piece of American history. It’s well written and researched. I highly recommend The Woods for fiction lovers, especially those who lean towards the historical side.
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Ronald Lee Geigle grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He was born in Monroe, Washington, and attended Meadowdale Senior High School. After graduating from the University of Washington, he headed for Washington, DC, where he has spent the past 30+ years as a speechwriter, congressional aide, and public relations consultant. He worked for Washington State Senator Warren Magnuson and US Representative Norm Dicks, and founded the public relations firm Polidais.
"You learn a lot about people over that many years," says Geigle. "And you learn a lot about politics. It is always a surprise to me, despite all these years in DC, what those two forces do to one another—and not necessarily in a good way."
Geigle makes politics a central part of his novel, The Woods, which tells a coming-of-age story set during a period of labor unrest in the Pacific Northwest during the late 1930s. As the nation emerges from the Great Depression, both haves and have-nots struggle for financial survival and, more importantly, to achieve their dreams in the face of adversity, danger, and political ambition.
Geigle won fiction writing awards from the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in 1997 and 1998 for two chapters from his novel.