Books: Van Reid and The Moosepath
They won’t ever outsell Harry Potter, but if you enjoy period fiction with rollicking whimsy (Detroit Free Press), amiably and richly populated (The New York Times Book Review) with Dickensian characters and authentic New England (specifically, coastal Maine) locations, then taking a stroll down Van Reid’s multi-volume Moosepath will be very gratifying.
Charles Dickens isn’t writing anymore, but Van Reid is.
I first encountered Reid’s work (according to my trusty book journal) in the Spring of 2003, when I spotted “Daniel Plainway, or the Holiday Haunting of the Moosepath League” on the remainder table of my local B&N. What drew me to it was the book jacket design (see all below).
Quickly surmizing it was third in a series (I’m clever that way), I rounded up the previous volumes and hunkered down for a fun read (no pun intended). What I discovered, however, was another world.
Reid’s pace nearly rivals Fox’s “24” in real-time storytelling, if not in explosions and body count. “Cordelia Underwood,” the first novel in the series, takes place over a ten-day period in July 1896. The series to date stretches to June 1897. Reading the first three books as one long novel, I was able to immerse myself in the era of the Moosepath.
Along that path you’ll meet and (I believe), come to love Tobias Walton, Sundry Moss, ‘path charter members Ephram, Eagleton & Thump, the title characters of novels 1-4, and literally hundreds of minor characters up and down the Maine coast (and sometimes a little inland). The books don’t need to be read sequentially to be enjoyed, but I’d suggest it, especially if you’re a completist like me.
I enjoyed these stories so much, I gave paperback sets of this series as Christmas gifts to a few friends and family members a couple years ago (Sorry, but that offer has expired).
To learn more about Van Reid and the Moosepath, and Reid’s non-series book, “Peter Loon,” visit his website here. He also writes a periodic newsletter.
I envy you your first experiences with the Moosepath League.