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.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book since it is my first from this author, but I was really pleasantly surprised at how awesome the book was. I was intrigued from the beginning, and just couldn’t put it down. Katie Calloway was abused so by her husband she couldn’t stay with him any longer after he returned from the war, so she left with her younger brother and went to someplace she never thought he would find her. She is excited that she landed a job right off hand when she came into the little town in Michigan. The only thing was, she would be cooking for a gang of loggers, all men, no women at all in this place so back in the sticks it was far away from everywhere. But Katie was pleased at this because her husband wouldn’t be able to find her.
Katie was a hard worker and wanted to make sure she did her job right but sometimes this was difficult with the old cook Jigger, who was injured in a fight. Her boss Robert promised Katie that he would make sure his men respected her for the lady she was, and he kept his promise, even though he had to fight one of his men for being disrespectful.
The author was wonderful with details describing the logging camp, the bunk house where the men lived, the food Katie cooked and the appreciation of the workers for Katie’s wonderful cooking. Some of the descriptions were kinda gross, especially talking about the body odor and other smells in the bunkhouse. I could almost smell these men who didn’t bathe for the entire seven months they worked at the logging camp.
Robert was just a sweetheart. His attraction to Katie was subdued because he was so afraid of hurting her, or causing her to think he was disrespectful. As Katie started feeling an attraction to Robert, she knew it wouldn’t work because she was still married, though that was her secret. That is until Mose shows up, but he promises never to tell that he knows Katie.
Robert was a good man, and his attitude showed this over and over in the different things he did throughout the book. And you will need to read the book to find out more about Robert. Will he finally tell Katie how he feels about her?
I highly recommend this book if you like historical christian fiction and romance with a touch of Civil War, and a lot of details on how cutting timber and logging camps operated in the 1800’s. This is a very enjoyable book that you will not be disappointed you bought The Measure of Katie Calloway.