Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: "The Measure of Katie Calloway" by Serena Miller

Summary from Her heart seeks sanctuary in the deep woods. But will trouble find her even here?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 north woods 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.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I wasn't a fan of the cover and I was deathly afraid that it was going to fall into the historical romance pitfall I seem to find myself in. Luckily, that was not my fate this time. I think it was because the focus of the story was on life in the camp and not on romance. Oh, romance is in the story but it actually plays only a small role in the plot. More time was spent on Katie adjusting to being the new cook (or sharing the role) at the camp.

I really enjoyed reading about all the adventures in the kitchen. There's A LOT of food mentioned in this book which is always a plus for me. Katie and Jigger keep trading barbs and tricks with each other as they battle for control over the kitchen so many dishes are being served throughout the book. I wouldn't mind being in the camp myself it Katie was the one cooking. Doughnuts, meat pies, flapjacks all sound good to me. I'm really glad at how Katie stood up to Jigger. She got her one good cry (which she totally deserved to have) and then she fought back. I'm glad that she is portrayed as a strong woman who can fend for herself.

Katie and Robert actually never really have many romantic scenes throughout the book. This is partly due to Katie's situation and the fact that she doesn't want a relationship. Robert also treats Katie with respect and does not try to pursue anything. There is some chemistry but it's not something the author focuses on. Katie's husband is an interesting character to say the least. I would have been interested to find out more about him but from what I could gather, he got what he deserved.

The only thing I found a bit off the book was the role of Katie's brother. He didn't really seem to serve a purpose in the story for me. Most of the time I forgot that he existed. He just felt like Robin to Katie's Batman...why are you here? Other than this, I really enjoyed the book. Miller's writing helped me to understand what life was like in the logging camps as well as tensions after the Civil War. I liked Katie's character and was glad that she was able to stand on her own two feet. This is the first book from Miller that I've read and I hope that continues to write more stories like this.

The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

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