4 out of 4 stars
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It was a cold rainy morning, and Tom, Myra and William were gearing up to go camping. Tom heard a knock on his door and signalled to William to get the caller. When William opened the door, he saw a somewhat familiar woman with a shivering child beside her. She asked for Tom and when he showed up, she handed over the child, Sarah, to him and informed him she is his granddaughter. Flabbergasted by the sudden news, he wondered what to do with her. He considered postponing their camping trip, but William suggested they take the girl along. He reluctantly agreed. Little did he know she would change their lives forever.
Sarah was insufferable at first; her recalcitrant attitude annoyed me. Nothing impresses her, regardless of what anyone does. However, she quickly grew on me and became my favourite character. I realised that her behaviour is a veneer she devised to protect herself owing to her experiences. Beyond the veil, she is a kind person who cares deeply about those she loves. Her character growth is stunning, and her tenacity and bravery further endeared her to me.
From the incredible story of Sarah's mysterious disappearance to her sighting of a long-extinct animal, I believe fans of mysticism and historical fiction will love Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon. I particularly enjoyed the human origin arguments between Sergei and Myra. They are both smart and passionate about their theories; their evidence versus legend debates added a fresh layer of depth to the multilayered story.
The book has a slow pace at the beginning, but halfway through, it picks up. It took me over a hundred pages to appreciate the time Charlie took to build up the story. His writing captured the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. I haven't been to any of the locations mentioned, but his description of the Elwha River and the mountains and valleys of the Olympic National Park enchanted me.
I tried, but I couldn’t pinpoint any area for improvement. To that note, I would rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Any book that subliminally educates while entertaining a reader fits my definition of a good book, and Strong Heart fits that bill. Moreover, its flawless editing and medley of well-developed characters made it an engaging and breezy read. Even though the book ended on a satisfactory note, there is room for a sequel, and I am looking forward to one.
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