The Whistling Season Review
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I so enjoyed this novel about a whistling housekeeper and her fount-of-knowledge brother who touch the lives of a widowed father and his three sons. The story took me back to the old West with its one-room schoolhouses—back to a gentler time, when the air was cleaner, the buildings smaller, and people traveled on horses and dirt roads surrounded by the beauty and freshness of nature.

It’s late in the year 1909 on the Montana plains. Halley’s Comet is about to come whistling through, homesteaders are lured to the promise of the Montana prairie blooming under an irrigation project called the Big Ditch, and the Milliron family is about to hire a non-biting, non-cooking housekeeper—though they do hope she was jesting about the non-cooking part.

Told from the point-of-view of the oldest son, Paul Milliron, comes the engaging tale of Rose Llewellyn and her brother, Morris “Morrie” Morgan, who arrive in Marias Coulee, Montana looking for a new start. When the teacher runs off with the preacher, Morrie is pressed into teaching in the one-room school. Soon Paul and his brothers, along with all the children who attend the school, are learning things not found in textbooks—and Paul begins to wonder just where Morrie gained all that knowledge.

Spit bath handshakes, backward horse racing, holy rollers, schoolyard scuffles, and a host of other delightful adventures make The Whistling Season a pleasant journey. You’ll catch yourself smiling as you spend time with Oliver Milliron and his three sons, who struggle to make it after the death of their wife and mother. In an uncommon way, Rose turns out to be a saving grace, even if she won’t cook, and Morrie keeps them fascinated with his endless knowledge of the world around them. Both have an air of mystery surrounding them, and you can’t help but wonder what, exactly, they’re doing in Marias Coulee.

The Whistling Season is a feel-good-about-life-no-matter-how-tough-it-gets story, with a wonderful and unique cast of characters and a surprising ending. I guarantee you’ll enjoy your time in Marias Coulee as much as I did.

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