Beneath the Slashings, by…Oh, look! It’s by me!

Okay, is it, like, totally brazen to review my own book for MMGM?

Um, yes, it probably is.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me just this once, because my new book launches in less than a week and I’m terribly excited. To celebrate, I’m giving away the very ARC we used to make final corrections. I’ll draw a winner next Monday. To enter, just leave a comment. But first, let me tell you what the book is about. I won’t just give you the blurb; I’m going to review it like I review every other book on my blog. And if I hadn’t told you, you might not have know the difference!


Beneath the Slashings is the final book in Ms. Isenhoff’s Divided Decade Trilogy (this is so wierd!), which views the American Civil War from three different angles. But because they’re only loosely related, each book can be read independently. For more on the series, click here.

The story begins with 12-year-old Grace Nickerson celebrating the end of the war. After four long years, Pa’s finally coming home! Grace is eager to move back to the family farm (from her aunt and uncle’s house) and resume a normal life. But then Pa’s letter comes in the mail–he’s sold the farm and taken a job in a lumber camp, and Grace and her twin brother, Sam, are to go with him.

Grace is devastated. She’s never been brave. “She wasn’t one to swing out over the creek on a hot summer day and drop blindly into a pool.” And her fear quickly turns to anger. When her tears and tantrums don’t change Pa’s mind, she stops speaking to him altogether.

In camp, Grace spends long hours working with Sam and Ivan, the surly Russian cook, but at least in the kitchen she’s safe from the lumberjacks. She’s seen them from the window. They’re rough, unkept, and terrifying. But slowly, with Sam’s help, she comes to understand they’re all missing home and recovering from loss, just like she is. Her fear begins to evaporate–until she learns one of them is trying to kill Pa.

This is more than a suspenseful adventure, it’s a little slice of history wrapped up in entertainment. Many returning Civil War vets really did look to the lumber camps for a fresh start. The setting is authentic and well-researched, and the colorful language of the logging camps is employed. The author even touches on the challenges that arose from so many new black freemen and the tragedy of diminishing Native American cultures. The years after the war were a time of uncertainty, rebuilding, and learning to live with changes. Isenhoff, with her distinctive prose, captures them beautifully. But mostly, this is a story of family and forgiveness.

Language and content are perfectly appropriate for kids ages 10+. Highly recommended.


Shameless. Absolutely shameless, aren’t I? So, who wants the ARC?

20 thoughts on “Beneath the Slashings, by…Oh, look! It’s by me!

  1. Hi Michelle,
    Your book sounds great, and I really enjoy reading about the Civil War. I’m sure you will have great success with it. What did you do to research this?

    1. I actually have a blog post coming up about that during my tour in August. My kids and I visited one of the last few acres of virgin forest in Michigan and a recreated lumber camp, where we got to crawl into the little hay tick bunks and such. And for about five months I poured through lots and lots of accounts, pictures, etc.

  2. Can’t wait to read “Beneath the Slashings.” You aren’t shameful, you just teased us! The first two novels were excellent! I like that they are stand-alone books, yet part of a trilogy about three different periods of the Cival War, especially from a different viewpoint of the north. Glad you are so excited!

  3. Since I have already read Beneath the Slashing on my Kindle- I wasn’t going to enter. But then I realized I could add the ARC to my classroom library for my 5th grade students. 🙂 I thought the review was excellent and very accurate. My review will be up on Fairday’s Blog next Wednesday. I was worried when I first started the book that I would be at a loss because I hadn’t read the other books in the series- but this was not the case. A wonderful HF book for middle grade students and older.

  4. HA HA HA!! “Highly recommended” Hmmmm… I wonder why…. 😉 I like your review! THe book launch is very exciting! I will now shameLESSly tell you about my blog! Hop over to on August 2 to read my review of Mrs. Isenhoff’s Beneath the Slashings!!! 😉

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