About the Book:
The Civil War has ended, but in Katie Calloway's Georgia home conflict still rages. To protect herself and her young brother from her violent and unstable husband, she flees north, finding anonymity and sanctuary as the cook in a Northwoods lumber camp. The camp owner, Robert Foster, wonders if the lovely woman he's hired has the grit to survive the never-ending work and harsh conditions of a remote pine forest in winter. Katie wonders if she can keep her past a secret from a man she is slowly growing to love.
With grace and skill, Serena Miller brings to life a bygone era. From the ethereal, snowy forest and the warm cookstove to the rowdy shanty boys and the jagged edges of the saw, every detail is perfectly rendered, transporting the reader back to the time when pine was king, men were made of iron, and rivers were choked with logs on the way to the sawmills. Readers will have a hard time leaving the Northwoods when they turn the last page.
Many English teachers, at least back in the day, would give students two grades on writing assignments--one for what they had to say (content) and another for how they said it (grammar). Well, content-wise, I'd give Serena Miller a pretty good grade on this story. It was an engaging read with likable characters. The historical details were interesting. There were parts that were downright funny--like when Robert bought two pigs for the camp and Katie asked what they should name them. One guy suggested Dinner and Supper; another Bacon and Sausage. Miller did a good job of depicting the hardships and dangers of life in a logging camp and of bringing out the problems that many soldiers suffered after the Civil War (problems that still bother soldiers to this day).
As far as the "how it was said", there was no bad grammar (except in speech when it was to be expected), but I found the overall language to be flowery and overly sweet. I also found the resolution to be too good to be true. The book is Christian fiction but I didn't find the religious elements to be over-the-top, rather it was the writing style in general. Still, the book kept me engaged and happily reading until the end so I'll give it a B-.
Measure of Katie Calloway, The: A Novel is available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. They were kind enough to provide me with a review copy.