Tree Soldier by J.L. Oakley

2013 Everybody Reads Selection

Tree Soldier by J.L. Oakley

One mistake can ruin a life. One mistake can transform it. A government forestry camp set deep in the mountainous forests of the Pacific Northwest might not seem the likely place to find redemption, but in 1935, Park Hardesty hopes for just that. Blaming himself for the fiery accident that caused his brother's disfigurement and the death of the bootlegging woman he loved, planting trees, building bridges and mentoring tough, homesick New Jersey boys brings him both penitence and the renewal of his own self-worth. When he wins the love of Kate Alford, a local naturalist who envisions joining the Forest Service, which allows only men, he also captures the ire of a camp officer who refuses to let her go. Just when he is ready to seek his brother's forgiveness, he is falsely accused of rape. Every aspect of his life he has tried to rebuild is put in jeopardy. In the end, the only way he can defend himself is to tell the truth about his brother, but he risks being kicked out of the camp. Worse, he could lose Kate's love forever.

“In this action-packed, emotionally charged historical novel titled Tree Soldier, J.L. Oakley takes us back to the era of the Great Depression. Tree Soldier will draw you in and keep you turning the pages.”

— Chanticleer Book Reviews
J.L. Oakley
J.L. Oakley is the author of Tree Soldier and The Christmas Well.

JL Oakley grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, listening to her mother's stories of life in early 20th century Idaho. Several of them were about the boys from "New Joisey" occupying a side camp up the creek from her uncle's ranch. Desperate boys from back East, they were members of the Civilian Conservation Corps doing reclamation projects in the rugged area of the Salmon River. From these stories came Tree Soldier, set in 1930s in the North Cascades Mountains of Washington State.

Learn more about J.L. Oakley