It has been a while since I did a book review on the blog. To be honest, I rarely get excited enough about a book to put the effort into writing a review. However, I just read my friend Bret Wannacott’s book, A Millionaire’s Dream, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve known Bret on social media for over ten years. I’ve always enjoyed reading about him and his setters, their training, hunting adventures and field trials. Bret and I share a love of forest grouse hunting with pointing dogs and I’ve enjoyed seeing photos and videos of his hunts over the years. Bret is also a waterfowl hunter and, believe it or not, he uses his setters to hunt ducks and geese. In addition, he is a former Utah State champion duck caller, passionate chukar hunter and conservationist, and also takes time to teach youngsters about his passions.
When Bret announced a few years back on social media that he was working on a book, I was excited to read about his hunting adventures and immediately reached out to him to find out what he was working on. To my surprise, Bret related that he was not working on a book about his hunting experiences, but rather on a fictional novel. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect or how his love of bird dogs and upland bird hunting would come into play. I have to admit that at the time, I thought this was an ambitious undertaking and was a bit skeptical. Thank goodness Bret stayed the course and wrote A Millionaire’s Dream.
This book is the story of 17-year old James Crockett, who is suddenly orphaned when his mother passes away from cancer. Other than some relatives and a few neighbors, James is all alone and, as you can guess, he is distraught for a time as he tries to work and hold together the family farm located in Idaho. By happenstance (or better yet, divine providence), he runs into a young stray setter that he names “Bud” and the dog brings hope and joy back into his life. James soon finds out that the dog belongs to a wealthy man from Boise, George Knutson, who paid a lot of money for the setter as a field-trialing prospect. Of course, Knutson comes to get his dog back over the pleas of James. At the loss of his new friend, James again plunges into depression. Not wanting to spoil any of the plot for the readers, I will say that big-hearted Knutson later works out a deal with James that is mutually beneficial for the two of them and this turns James’ life around for the better.
The book covers James’ journey of learning about life, love, hunting, and bird dogs. In the process, James finds his community and his family. Fittingly, James’ first hunt with the dog is on forest grouse and it was fun to read about another duffer in the grouse woods. The book also touches upon some of Idaho’s other game birds: pheasants, Huns, sharptails, and chukar. Bret’s writing on these species rings true based upon his extensive experience as a hunter.
The book is well written and the compelling story draws you in. I read it in less than two days and found myself cheering for James and the dogs. I would compare the story, especially the field-trialing sections, to the great writing of Vereen Bell, the author of Brad Dog, who died in World War II. If you don’t know Vereen Bell, do yourself a favor and go read his stuff! Trust me, it’s that good!
Bret took a risk and it paid off. People are taking note as the book has received numerous positive reviews on Amazon.com and elsewhere. I’m so glad he took the time to develop and share his talents in this book. Here is a link to where you can find it https://bretwonnacott.com/. You can also go and check out some reviews: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952816793/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_N3BAZXV5PXWQJEYE3A3Y
I understand Bret is writing a second novel and that he is about ten chapters in. If A Millionaire’s Dream is any indication, then we are in for a treat!