The Whistling Season

Ivan Doig
352 pages

Oliver Milliron is a recently widowed farmer in Montana who responds to an advertisement that says “Can’t cook but doesn’t bite.” In need of a housekeeper, Oliver hires Rose Llewellyn who brings along her brother, Morris Morgan. When the town preacher elopes with the teacher and Morrie is pressed into service as the new teacher, he and Rose begin building a relationship with Oliver and the Milliron sons, Paul, Damon and Toby that will stand out in Paul’s memory years later when as Superintendent, he is reminiscing and deciding the fate of one room schools.

I found The Whistling Season to be a book that I could only read in small chunks. It was slightly wistful and nostalgic in places, making me wish it were possible that way of life still existed so I could explore it, if only for one day.

On the other hand, I often found myself wondering what the story was about: Paul, one room schools, Rose and Morrie, Montana, or the Milliron family? Yes

The Whistling Season is definitely not a page turner. Yet, I found that I always wanted to get back to the characters. The storyline didn’t develop at all like I expected which is good( I like that it wasn’t predictable) and bad(I felt lost at times.) I enjoyed the descriptions but found some other areas a bit plodding. In the end, I felt it was worth reading but not one of my favorite Alex Award Winners. (3/5)