A man running from his past, a woman too independent for her era, a man blinded by jealousy, and a rowdy cast of streetwise Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps teenage boys coalesce in this boisterous blend of mystery, romance and - though not quite realized enough - American economic history... its disparate threads of mysterious past and romantic present are tied up with an emotionally satisfying resolution.
~ PW May 2014
Oakley constructs this rugged romance with tremendous care, fully developing its characters, particularly the honorable Hardesty, and building moments of tension in an engaging and entertaining novel.
~PW Select January 2012
...the characters are complicated and convincing, and the overall narrative is solid, providing a nice balance of macho rough-and-tumble, romance, and period detail. I'm always glad to see more Northwest-based fiction, and "Tree Soldier" is well worth reading.
~Barbara Lloyd McMicheal for the Bellingham Herald, December 26, 2011.
From the Author
Researching history is like a CSI hunt. You just don't know what you are going to find in an archive or a family papers. It leads to wonderful discoveries and stories, such as my great-grandfather's role as a Union surgeon at Gettysburg. Writing about history is about craft and I have spent many years improving mine through conferences, writer's workshops and author talks at my local indie book store and libraries. Each rejection letter or contest win brings me closer to a better novel or article. It is a joy to have won the 2012 EPIC ebook award and a grand prize from Chanticleer Book Reviews for historical Fiction for Tree Soldier. Even more for the libraries of the Lewis and Clark Valley choosing the novel as their Everybody Reads 2013. I visit 7 libraries in November, telling stories about the CCCs in their area.
I've traditionally published personal essays ranging from the dreams of four generations of women in my family to doing drywall after the sudden loss of my husband. "Dry Wall in the Time of Grief" was the top winner in non-fiction at Surrey International Writers in 2006. My articles on Washington State history are at Historylink.org. "The Boys of Glacier" was part of the award winning 2013 summer issue of Mount Baker Experience Magazine.
An historian and educator, I teach everything from splitting shakes to making butter to 3rd graders, research the life of the ANN PARRY, a 19th century West Coast bark and give talks on the CCCs for Humanities WA. When I am not writing, I love to garden and eat the fruits of my labor. Winter brings out my favorite plant, the helebore, so hardy in my neck of the woods.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest and writes every day. No matter what.