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The Winter Calf (The Maple Gap Series Book 1) by [Nuckols, Michael S.]
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The Winter Calf (The Maple Gap Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in The Maple Gap Series (3 Book Series)

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Length: 176 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The Winter Calf began 20 years ago as a short story called The Call from Bubbling Brook. I re-discovered Iris Littleton and Henry Mayfield in 2013 and realized that they still resonated in my heart. In several weeks, I was able to draft the bones of a longer work, the words practically pouring onto the page.

The story was inspired by a visit with my mother and father to my paternal grandparents' grave located in Highland County, Virginia. Much of the imagery in the book emerged from this visit one cold March day. While the story is set in the fictional town of Maple Gap, astute readers will recognize a loose interpretation of Monterey. Nonetheless, Maple Gap exists solely in my mind - created from bits and pieces of life in the Shenandoah Valley - from Winchester in the North to Lynchburg in the South. The flood, for example, was inspired by a tragedy that occurred in Nelson County during Hurricane Camille in 1969. Over 150 people were drowned or buried in mudslides that night, their bodies crushed between boulders and uprooted trees. Many were never found, entombed in the mud.

The Winter Calf draws from many genres. There are obvious elements of horror; pivotal scenes occur in a graveyard. The novel can be considered Southern Gothic, reminiscent of Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and Flannery O'Connor. The book can also be described as magical realism; it hints at a ghost story. It draws heavily from Appalachian folklore -- focusing upon the wise but misunderstood mountain witch who is hiding from the world. Some would describe The Winter Calf as a coming of age story - the story of how two boys from very different worlds are changed when a strange woman enters their life. Finally, like James Herriot's veterinary tales or Steinbeck's The Red Pony, The Winter Calf is a rural story about life on a farm - a boy dreaming of raising a calf.

The story focuses on three primary characters. Iris Littleton is the old recluse on the hill that everyone says is a witch. Folks in town say she murdered her five-year-old son - and waits for his return. Henry Mayfield is the wide-eyed but stubborn boy who dreams of raising a calf for the county fair. After an accident, Henry is terrified when he has to knock on Iris' door one winter day. Jerome Bigman is the school bully and Henry's nemesis; he dreams of killing his abusive father.


Writing The Winter Calf was an emotional experience. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it.

About the Author

Michael S. Nuckols' first novel, "The Winter Calf", was inspired by his childhood in the hills of Virginia. The eerie story of a woman haunted by her lost son continues in the 2016 sequel, "The Wasted Grave". The third installment the Maple Gap Series, "The Whispering Souls," was released in July 2016 and visits the Mayfield family two years after the end of "The Winter Calf".

Michael has published two stand-alone novels. "Frozen Highway" tells the contemporary story of a militia leader threatening a former soldier and her family in rural Alaska.Similarly, "The Last Buffalo Soldier" follows a war-hero fighting discrimination in the segregated South of the 1950s. He has also published several short stories.

Michael currently lives on a farm with his spouse in northern New York and wakes every morning to a herd of Ayrshire dairy cattle. He has also lived in coastal Virginia,west-central Georgia, and, most recently, rural Alaska.

Product details

  • File Size: 1015 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Michael S. Nuckols; 1 edition (February 28, 2014)
  • Publication Date: February 28, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IQ3094A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,611 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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