RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller


Title: The Measure of Katie Calloway
Author: Serena Miller
Publication Info: Revell 2011
ISBN: 978-0800719982
Genre: Historical: American

The Measure of Kate Calloway This review was written by KKJ . This story was nominated in the Best Inspirational Romance category.

The 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.

And here is KKJ's' review:

Serena Miller is a relatively new inspie author, and I think this is a good effort – but not quite award-worthy.

THE ROMANCE: The attraction between the heroine and her boss was predictable, but in a comforting sort of way. She has trust issues (abusive husband); he has guilt issues (wife died in childbirth while he was away at war). She gets tougher, he softens – my favorite kind of romance building.

THE HISTORY: Compelling and unique setting. The descriptions of lumber camp life and working conditions were fantastic, but much of it was info-dumped early in the book. I noticed a few possible anachronisms, but nothing too distracting.

THE STORY-TELLING: This is where it fell apart for me. Along with the info-dumping, the early chapters consisted primarily of internal monologues and very little action. The dialogue and drama didn’t pick up until about halfway in. The addition of colorful secondary characters helped, but some Very Convenient Coincidences strained belief, and a brilliantly-written Big Dramatic Moment ended abruptly.

THE SPIRITUAL MESSAGE: One of my biggest frustrations with formulaic inspirationals like this is the complete lack of subtlety – we have to be TOLD *everything.* We apparently can’t figure out for ourselves that GOD sent the sudden downpour to end the forest wildfire:

“The Lord of rain and sky and earth and fire had heard the prayers of the women and children and rough loggers and had chosen to save them.”

Don’t TELL me, SHOW me. Let the *characters* tell the story.

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