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The Measure of Katie Calloway (Michigan Northwoods, #1)
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Archived Group Reads 2014 > May Book of the Month - The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller

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message 1: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2489 comments Mod
In May we will be discussing The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena B. Miller.

Goodreads summary:
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.


Melanie (lovebeingvegan) | 24 comments I loved this book. Hope everyone enjoys it. :)


message 3: by Natalie (last edited May 01, 2014 04:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Natalie (creativecountry0407gmailcom) | 302 comments I enjoyed The Measure of Katie Calloway (Michigan Northwoods, #1) by Serena B. Miller . Highly recommended. I am planning to read A Promise to Love (Michigan Northwoods, #2) by Serena B. Miller and Under a Blackberry Moon (Michigan Northwoods, #3) by Serena B. Miller when I get the chance.


Natalie (creativecountry0407gmailcom) | 302 comments Does anyone know if there will be a any more books in the series after the next two?


Rachel Brand I'm really looking forward to this one! I loved A Promise to Love.


message 6: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2489 comments Mod
I've owned this one for a while, excited to get to it!


Karen | 4 comments A very good book. Could not stop reading. I would like it to be a series -if it is not I hope it is currently planned to become a series. I can vision 3-4 more books from this story.


Maria | 176 comments Just started :) It's very interesting and I'm glad I found this group because I am discovering so many good books!!


message 9: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2489 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "A very good book. Could not stop reading. I would like it to be a series -if it is not I hope it is currently planned to become a series. I can vision 3-4 more books from this story."

Karen, there are currently two books after this one :)


message 10: by Barb (last edited May 03, 2014 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barb (barbdhf) | 26 comments I loved this book! I am thrilled to hear there are 2 more books in the series, Karen :) It was especially fun for me since it takes place in Michigan and I've lived in MI my whole life (although I live on the other side of the state). Very interesting to read of the history of logging.


Shari Larsen | 65 comments Barb wrote: "I loved this book! I am thrilled to hear there are 2 more books in the series, Karen :) It was especially fun for me since it takes place in Michigan and I've lived in MI my whole life (although ..."

Barb, I've lived in Michigan my whole life too! I live in Big Rapids.

I love it when I find good stories set in my home state. I loved this one too, I read a few months ago before I knew it was going to be a group read.


message 12: by Barb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barb (barbdhf) | 26 comments Shari, my husband graduated from Ferris :) We live in the Grand Rapids area.


message 13: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 5102 comments Mod
I loved this book! Look forward to reading the others in the series.


Shari Larsen | 65 comments Barb wrote: "Shari, my husband graduated from Ferris :) We live in the Grand Rapids area."

It's a small world! :)


Natalie (creativecountry0407gmailcom) | 302 comments @Beth: Can the books be read as stand-alones or is it better to read them as a series?


message 16: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2489 comments Mod
I'm not sure, as I haven't read any of them yet. I've gotten a small start on this one, liking it so far.


Rachel Brand I read A Promise to Love and had no idea it was part of a series, so I think they can be read as standalones.


Kristelle | 8 comments Just finishedThe Measure of Katie Calloway and I loved it. I felt Serena Miller handled some really tough issues (slavery, spousal abuse, prostitution, PTSD) in a serious manner without becoming preaching about anything. The contrast of the shanty boys in town verses out in the forest was very eye opening.

There was enough action to keep the story moving but it wasn't so over done that it was hard to believe all that would happen in one winter.

I am excited to read the other books in the series after reading this one.


Rachel Brand Kristelle, your comments are making me all the more intrigued about this book! I'm definitely going to have to get to it soon :) I remember A Promise to Love dealing with the subject of mental illness surprisingly well (given the time period), so I can imagine Serena dealing with similar topics like PTSD.


Shari Larsen | 65 comments Kristelle wrote: "Just finishedThe Measure of Katie Calloway and I loved it. I felt Serena Miller handled some really tough issues (slavery, spousal abuse, prostitution, PTSD) in a serious manner wit..."

I agree, you described the story perfectly!


message 21: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2489 comments Mod
I'm only on page 50, and already it's touched on a couple of touchy subjects. Thus far it is being handled very well.


Karen | 4 comments Thanks I found book two in the series. Cannot wait to read!


Vicki | 1 comments What a great book! I am new to this group and am so glad as it has led me to some awesome reads. Thanks so much for the person who nominated this book as book of the month. I loved learning about the logging business and felt like I was right there with them in the forests of MI. Katie's character was really interesting too as she learned to trust again. The story line kept moving so I could hardly put the book down.


Shari Larsen | 65 comments Welcome to the group Vicki!
I found the book hard to put down once I started reading it also.


Rachel Brand I've finally got around to starting this book! Only managed a few chapters so far, but the premise is certainly intriguing.


Sarah (sarahe35) | 96 comments Just finished this & loved it! It was a great book w/some funny moments. I really enjoy reading about how/what gave/gives an author the idea for a book. I'm so glad that Ms Miller included that at the end.

*Spoiler alert* I loved how the shanty boys helped Robert make the playhouse an extra special Christmas surprise. I also liked how Robert & the men didn't let Harlon just walk off with Katie. I was glad to see Katie standing up for herself also. I loved the scene where Katie prayed for Robert when he needed to do surgery on Skypilot. Just a few of the things I enjoyed in this book :).


Maria | 176 comments I loved those moments, too, Sarah :) By the way, Skypilot was one of my favourite characters!


message 28: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new) - rated it 4 stars

Staci | 2602 comments Mod
Just finished this & enjoyed the story. I loved how Katie was willing to run away with her brother to find a new beginning. She worked hard to create her new beginning, which is incredibly admirable.

I already have book two checked out from the library since it's a Christy Award finalist. I look forward to starting it soon.

Like someone else commented, I'm really enjoying being a part of this group and finding new reads. Fun!


Shari Larsen | 65 comments Sarah wrote: "Just finished this & loved it! It was a great book w/some funny moments. I really enjoy reading about how/what gave/gives an author the idea for a book. I'm so glad that Ms Miller included that a..."

I loved those "shanty boys" too; they may have been rough around the edges, but they knew how to treat women with respect.

I also liked how even though Katie had some rough circumstances, she was never portrayed, or acted like she was a victim.

I just read the third book in this series, A Promise to Love; it takes place about 4 years after this story, and works as a stand alone novel, but I was glad to see that Robert, Katie, and Jigger made a "cameo" appearance in the book.


message 30: by Rachel (last edited Jun 02, 2014 12:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel Brand I finally finished this book this weekend! I didn't enjoy it as much as A Promise to Love, but it was a compelling read nonetheless. The details about life in a logging camp were fascinating, and it reminded me a lot of Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund. I really admired Katie and her ability to stand up for herself and defend her brother from her abusive husband. It can't have been easy to make the decisions she did in that time period, when women didn't have a lot of options in her position. I really wasn't sure how Robert was going to react when he find out the truth about Katie--I think a lot of people would have sent her back to her husband.

I felt like this book really picked up steam and became quite suspenseful between the 50-75% mark, but then it kind of petered off a little bit. Anyone else feel like this? It became a little bit episodic towards the end, even if I was glad to see the characters get their happy endings.


message 31: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2489 comments Mod
I finished this one a while back & realized that I never shared my thoughts here. I did enjoy this book, although it's not a new favorite or anything. I also found the logging camp to be a wonderful setting & very well-done. I loved the themes touched on in this novel and how the author didn't shy away from tough subjects.

I think for me I just felt like I didn't get to know the characters like I wanted, not really sure why.

Rachel, I know what you mean about the ending. To me it felt sort of convenient and was very "deus ex machina" in that all of their problems were suddenly solved. I was glad for the happy ending too, but after the tense stand-off between Katie & her husband in the kitchen, I thought it was a sort of anticlimactic ending.

I thought the romance was very sweet and liked how it didn't command the plot but rather enhanced it.


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