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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Revell blog tour stop for The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller - with bonus review!

Fleeing to the North Woods to Escape Her Abusive Husband  
Will Katie have the courage to allow another man into her heart?  

The Measure of Katie Calloway (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1998-2, $14.99, October), the newest book from author Serena Miller, transports readers to an era of log jams and shanty boys in the northern woods of Michigan.

About the book: 

The Civil War in America is over and former northerner, Katie Calloway, must flee for her life from Georgia, where her husband, an abusive Confederate officer, is waging war in their own home. Not only does he taunt her about her father and brother dying for the Union army, but she discovers that he is planning to kill her in order to be free to marry a local widow whose still-intact plantation he covets. Katie and her little brother find refuge in a lumber camp where she allows the camp owner to believe she is a widow.

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, worried that Robert will fire her if he discovers she is not the grieving widow she pretends to be, fights to keep her past a secret from this good man she is growing to love.

As Katie and Robert slowly realize their deep love for one another, Katie wonders, can she truly outrun her tumultuous past and learn to trust someone new?

Miller tells the story of an unforgettable journey of love, sacrifice, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of a world that was unforgiving at best.

Serena Miller is the author of Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's World, Guideposts, Reader's Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more. She lives on a farm in southern Ohio.

My review:

I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by the depth of this story. Not only did I learn a lot about the logging business post Civil-war, but more about Michigan as well. I loved the anecdotal sayings and songs about the shanty boys and the dangers inherent in that business. It was amazing what our ancestors went through in both logging and mining, which are both fascinating subjects to me. 

The plot was well developed and the characters were complex. I loved that the author didn't have a predictable ending and things twisted and turned a little bit from the standard story structure. Robert was a great hero and very easy to fall for. I hurt for him and his history as a surgeon during the war. I was moved to tears when he needed to perform surgery and Katie prayed for him. It reminded me of Aaron holding up Moses's hands in the Old Testament. His children were realistically portrayed as well. The cook Jigger was something. His transformation in the story over time was heart warming. 

The heroine, Katie, was a hard worker and it was impossible to not admire her pluck. I think that was one of the things that Robert liked most about her. She wasn't a typical women. She worked hard and didn't nag or complain. That was good to see in a book. Her cooking was so well described I often imagined myself eating what Katie was creating in the kitchen. Those meals sounded yummy.

The camaraderie of the camp employees really made this novel special to me. The many characters were distinct and the author included just enough male vulgarity (if you will) to make it really feel like a camp full of men without being gross. In my mind I could smell their BO and I experienced other sensations like the rough pine and scratchy wool because they was so well described. I did find myself scratching my head every time lice and bed bugs were mentioned. Ick. 

Probably the best part of the story to me was the realistic portrayal of how an abused woman would react when threatened. Even a strong one. I loved how Robert noticed that she was almost too compliant and didn't want to make waves. She was also afraid of male anger. That was well done. I loved how Katie nurtured everyone around her including her brother and Moon Song. The spiritual thread in Sky Pilot's story was also good. I felt like I knew the characters personally. That's good writing.

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher to give and honest review for the blog tour. The opinion expressed above is entirely my own. 

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

“Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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