The Woodcutter's Wife

The Woodcutter's Wife: A Stepmother's Tale

by Dolla S. Merrillees

Antoinette Carr:The Woodcutter’s Wife is a very powerful book that once started is hard to put down. I read it in a day and was truly mesmerised - Merrillees’s writing is both beautiful and humorous - a difficult thing to achieve when discussing such an emotive and personal story. This is a book that reveals the realities and complexities of being a step-parent - a hard reality for an increasing number of people in today’s modern world. With divorce rates escalating and people forming families with new partners when children are young, the step-parent plays an increasingly pivotal role.

This is not a how-to-guide to being a step-parent, but a personal account of the reality and challenges involved in bringing up someone else’s child. Just because you fall in love with the father does not mean you automatically fall in love with the child – Merrillees’s honesty in telling her story is refreshing. Told straight from the heart, The Woodcutter’s Wife is a genuine and funny account of Merrillees’s journey. There is no glossing over of facts and no pretence that it was easy to adapt to her new role as a step-mother. Merrillees sometimes feels like she is the wicked step-mother as depicted in children’s fairy tales, but that is where the true beauty of her book lies, as it provides the reader with a rare insight into the reality of being a step-parent – warts and all.
Rating: *****

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