Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter
Indiana University Press, 1986 (originally published 1904); 352 pages
Freckles, an Irish-American orphan from Chicago, shows up at a lumber camp near the Limberlost Swamp, looking for work. Although he is missing one of his hands, the Boss believes that Freckles is suitable for a guard for 2000 acres of forest that the lumbermen can't get to yet. Some of the trees on this land are worth thousands as veneer, and an ex-lumberman wants to steal them as a way of getting back at the Boss, who fired him. Over the course of a year as the Limberlost Guard, Freckles finds love, family, and becomes something of an amateur naturalist with the help of the Bird Woman.
I always enjoy Gene Stratton-Porter novels, even if they are sentimental and somewhat ridiculous, and Freckles is no exception. It's a sweet book, but fortunately, not too sweet.