3 out of 4 stars
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Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon is a fictional account, which revolves around the lives of Tom and William. The two old friends are planning to visit the Bear Valley, where Tom's father was buried. Tom wants to honour his father's remains and return a fossil thrower that he had found in his father's hat. Myra, William's daughter, accompanies the old men so as to ensure that they never lack. Tom's grand-child, Sarah, turns up on their door just before they leave and has to tag along too.
The first visit to the park is eventful as Sarah disappears only to appear more than a week later. She appears devastated, weak and collapses in the rain. She wakes up with claims of having dwelled among very ancient beings, who kidnapped her and took her to their land. Tom, William and Myra are confused. They believe that Sarah is mentally retarded or simply affected by her disappearance. However, Sarah's vision makes sense when Sergei turns up and links Sarah's voyage experience to historical dwellings.
The plot of this book begins on a high note, while building ground for the development of more action. I must commend Sheldon's vivid imaginations; he takes his time to describe the scenes that events unfold in. However, he relied on this stylistic too much to cause a gradual progress of the plot, which I did not like. I was most especially bored by the slow pace, where Sarah described her voyage and additionally bored by their slow progress on each journey to the park. This inconsistence is clearly overt in the first return journey from the park, which ended within a short time.
I would be unfair not to mention the greater extent to which suspense has advanced this novel. I liked the author's way of decimating information, which ensures that the reader keeps desiring more. The author creatively took his time in his entire narration. I think this is primarily what psyched me up to keep turning the pages, despite the slow development of the plot. The fact that the book also had an abrupt ending is a technique that was cleverly featured in. I think Sheldon may have intended to write another series of this same book.
I only came across one typo, which did not detract from my reading experience. I, therefore, conclude that it was professionally edited. Archaeologists and conservationists are the best audience for this book, whose main thematic concern centers between mining and conservation of an archaeological site. This book merits three out of four stars. It falls short of a perfect rating due to its rather sluggish plot development.
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