Wednesday, December 3, 2014

G471 E-Reading Book Review of Clever Mill Horse by Jodi Lew-Smith

Name of Book: The Clever Mill Horse

Author: Jodi Lew Smith

ISBN: 9780991341207

Publisher: Caspian Press

Type of book: 1810, 1800s, secrets, future, treatment, fake currency, patent, travel, death, Native Americans, relationships, family, siblings, mother/daughter relationships, female and male roles, engineering

Year it was published: 2014


***Winner of the 2014 James River Writers Indie Novel Contest***

A young woman’s gift could weave together the fabric of a nation...

1810, upstate New York. 21-year-old Ella Kenyon is happiest gliding through the thick woods around her small frontier town, knife in hand, her sharp eyes tracking game. A gift for engineering is in her blood, but she would gladly trade it for more time in the forest. If only her grandfather's dying wish hadn't trapped her into a fight she never wanted: for a flax-milling machine that could rescue both her family and her struggling town. Perhaps making flax—which grows in the North—as profitable as cotton at a time when cotton had yet to become king. If only she wanted it. Torn between what she wants and what she owes to others, no one could envy the choices she has to make. Nor the need to elude a ruthless foe determined to steal the machine.


I'm sorry to say that I don't recall the characters's names, aside from the relationships to Ella. Ella is the main character, a tomboyish girl who is capable of traditionally masculine dominant work and is determined to succeed at whatever costs she can. There are also Ella's parents, her father a drunkard and abuser, and her mother, a sweet and gentle woman who is best friends with Ella's mysterious aunt. Ella also has two younger siblings, one a sister that's good at traditionally feminine roles, and then the brother who also proves to be capable as Ella. There is also a Native American man that participated in French and Indian War and has taught Ella and her brother about hunting, food gathering and so forth. There is also Ella's grandfather who desires to create the flax machine at whatever cost he can, and the mysterious aunt that is wealthy and has shady dealings with certain people.


Women are just as capable as men


The story is written in third person narrative primarily from Ella's point of view, although other characters such as the aunt and Ella's younger siblings also step in and narrate from time to time. There is mystery to the story and a very strong heroine is in charge who is capable of doing whatever she can to succeed and fulfill her grandfather's dream. While that is going on, the reader also learns about Ella's aunt and her shameful past as well as how this past affects her future.

Author Information:
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

Buy the Book

About the Author02_Jodi Lew-Smith Author

Jodi Lew-Smith lives on a farm in northern Vermont with her patient husband, three wonderfully impatient children, a bevy of pets and farm animals, and 250 exceedingly patient apple trees which, if they could talk, would suggest that she stop writing and start pruning. Luckily they’re pretty quiet.
With a doctorate in plant genetics, she also lives a double life as a vegetable breeder at High Mowing Seeds. She is grateful for the chance to do so many things in one lifetime, and only wishes she could do them all better. Maybe in the next life she’ll be able to make up her mind.
For more about Jodi and about the lives and world of the characters in the novel, visit her website or blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook andGoodreads.


I have to be honest in saying that American history, especially in 1800s, is not my forte, and the only knowledge that I possess of it is Civil War, although I do vaguely recall the brief mentions in school of some inventors and their tries at simplifying the labor that people had to do when it came to fabrics. I actually liked reading the book and learning secrets about the characters as well as some of the hidden backgrounds. What is also unique is that this story doesn't give focus to romance not as a plot or even a subplot! While there is some, the author chooses to focus more on the race against time as well as whom to trust and whom not to trust rather than building chemistry between the characters. While there is exploration of competition, fulfilling wishes, the author also weaves in the issues of currency, treatment of Native Americans and so forth which means that it will be a unique and unforgettable ride.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

The Clever Mill Horse Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, November 12
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, November 17
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 18
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Friday, November 21
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Monday, November 24
Spotlight at Mel’s Shelves
Tuesday, November 25
Spotlight at Book Nerd
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Friday, November 28
Review at Readers’ Oasis
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews and More
Monday, December 1
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, December 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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