Beneath the Slashings captivated my attention from beginning to end! It is Michelle Isenhoff’s third book in the Divided Decade Trilogy, but each book stands alone. Not only is Isenhoff an expert storyteller, but she also teaches the reader a thing or two about history and — get this — she does it painlessly.
History was not my favorite subject in grade school, but I never read a book like this one back then. Beneath the Slashings brings history to life! The characters are convincing in their dialogue and have true-to-life problems and issues. It is easy to picture the lumberjacks as they squabble or tease each other. Also, Grace Nickerson is a compelling main character because she is easily relatable and filled with an appealing sense of wonder.
It takes place in Michigan during post Civil War times, when soldiers are returning home. It is an era of reconstruction, but 12- year old Grace Nickerson wants no part of it. She wants to stay on the family farm and resume normalcy, thank you very much. She lost so much already and craves the stability she’d get from the farm she’d known her whole life. Her father, however, returns from the war with the firm decision to take her, and her twin brother Sam, far away to a lumber camp. This dampens their relationship and sets off the journey from her familiar home in Saginaw County to the unknown forest in Manistee.
When Grace arrives at the Bear Creek Lumber Camp, she is fearful as she meets colorful characters with strange names like Fiddlesticks and Ivan. Despite her anger at her father for taking her there in the first place, she starts to adjust to the completely different lifestyle. However, she discovers that mayhem and even attempted murder are afoot. Grace is determined to find out who is behind the wrongdoings, but she must first overcome her fears.
Readers can’t help but learn about history as they read this entertaining book. Isenhoff is a children’s novelist who writes with students in mind. Further, she provides teachers with a Classroom Resources Series to help them get “maximum mileage” of her books.
My favorite thing about the book is that the characters’ voices resonated with me for days after I finished reading it! It was as if they were real people that I visited….back in time!
Rating for Beneath the Slashings, by Michelle Isenhoff:
Maggie’s View ~ Two Thumbs Up MUST READ!
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“I write for kids. In my books, you can expect adventure and substance, but I’ll always respect the innocence of our children.” Children’s Novelist, Michelle Isenhoff
Other books by Michelle Isenhoff: