Monday, October 28, 2013

Serena B. Miller's "The Measure of Katie Calloway" - a story of strength, courage, and honoring God

II Timothy 1:7: "God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The Measure of Katie Calloway exemplifies this verse as abused and down-trodden Katie Calloway runs off from her cruel husband and joins on as cook in a lumber camp.  There she learns to stand up for herself and those she loves.

The Measure of Katie Calloway  -     
        By: Serena Miller
As the novel takes place over the course of the lumber season - from fall until spring, when everyone scatters their separate ways - it feels like God has prepared this as a season of strengthening, restoration, and hope for Katie and other members of the camp, as they live in seclusion in the deep timber of Michigan.  It is not easy - one does not learn to be strong or brave without being forced to practice strength and bravery - but it is a period of great growth.

Miller writes a beautiful novel of strength, courage, and choosing to honor God, even when one's heart wants to act differently.  What I appreciate most about Katie is her fidelity - even when she knows how easy it would be to fall in love with a good man like Robert, she holds back, knowing that marriage is for life, and as unpleasant as it has been for her, and even though her husband is far away where hopefully she will never see him again, she remains true.  Robert, too, when he learns the truth of Katie's marriage, holds himself back and lets her go.  It is good to see such unselfish love that respects the boundaries of marriage. 

The characters are well developed and easy to love, even as uncouth and crotchety as some of the lumberjacks are.  The historical aspects - both the lumber camp life and the post-civil war attitudes - make for a well-rounded novel.  It is an uplifting story, but not because life is in any way easy for Katie - because she overcomes so much.  5 out of 5 stars!

Michigan Northwoods
1. The Measure of Katie Calloway
2. Under a Blackberry Moon
3. A Promise to Love

I also highly recommend Jody Hedlund's Unending Devotion, another excellent novel about lumber camp life in Michigan.

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