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November 9, 2021 / Joanne Yeck

A New Novel About Central Virginia

The Virginia Reel.

Impromptu balls were a favorite form of entertainment at Greenwood, c. 1910.

This fall, Harry S. Holman published his first novel based on family history, which includes the Hoopers of Buckingham County. Take Me Down Home Back to Virginia is based in stories Harry’s father told him, as well as decades of studying Virginia history. A genealogist, historian, and high school history teacher, Harry immersed himself in the culture and families of Central Virginia at an early age.

The novel is set at the turn of the 20th century, primarily in and around Cartersville, Cumberland County, Virginia. Excursions beyond the Holman plantation called Greenwood (just outside Cartersville) include visits to Buckingham County, the springs at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, and Richmond for a glimpse at The Jefferson Hotel and horse races. Numerous illustrations further bring the characters and settings to life.

In his preface, Harry explains to the reader that his purpose is “not to distort the past or present a textbook history. I merely retell what was told to me by the people who are characters in this story. To properly portray them, I must place them in the context of their reality, which means allowing them to be untainted by modern-day attitudes.”

George H. Cauble, Jr. praised Take Me Down Home saying, “The scenes and conversations presented in each chapter were filled with clarity, which presented me with vivid images of the simplicities of life that existed in rural Virginia one hundred years ago. I could feel the genuineness of the people who lived ‘down-home’ in Virginia.… Simply said, I loved it and couldn’t put it down.”

The book is printed by Dietz Press. For more information, write to Harry Holman at


Leave a Comment
  1. Ken Anderson / Nov 9 2021 10:01 am

    I will read (and buy) anything that vows to “allowing them to be untainted by modern-day attitudes”.

    • Joanne Yeck / Nov 10 2021 5:38 am


      Doubtless there are many of us who enjoy exploring history free of modern-day attitudes.

      When I was trained as an historian, we strove for objectivity. Clearly, this is no longer a goal among many who write about the past.


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