3 out of 4 stars
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Strong Heart, by Charlie Sheldon, takes place in a mixture of modern time and history during the time of ancient native Indians from near the Bering Sea. An emotionally challenged teenager arrives at the home of her grandfather and his family whom she has never met, as her own mother is gone. She accompanies them on a family wilderness trek to his grandfather’s death site in a remote camping area. Throughout this trip she is defensive and miserable from multiple days of hiking. As they are nearing their journey’s end, she becomes upset with them and runs off into the woods, disappearing for up to a week. After they exhaust all means of locating her, she reappears, suddenly, back at the campsite she originally left. She arrives, beaten and bruised, and missing a partial finger and armed with a tale of such remote possibility which takes place some 50,000 years ago, that it is difficult for them to believe her.
This story was difficult to get seriously involved in; with the beginning a bit of a yawn fest. Rather disappointing as I chose it with the expectation of high adventure and suspense. However, as I progressed through chapters the plot did move a bit faster and caught my attention. Then I was hooked on it and had to read to the end.
I had difficulty with connecting certain parts of the story. Such as, when the granddaughter was telling of her ordeal in the wilderness, I didn’t realize it was her telling them the story until much later in the book, then as I was confused, I had to go back and re-read the earlier sections to realize where her initial telling of the story began. This in itself made the story a bit confusing for me.
I did like the relationships brought out in the story. There was some personality conflicts between characters which were rather amusing and kept the story entertaining. A highlight of the story for me was a scene where the character Myra chases after the teenager when she becomes mad and leaves the hiking group. Later in the scene they both return with Myra dragging the granddaughter back to the campground, across her shoulder; a very sound and entertaining picture. I also enjoyed the deep archaeological aspects of this story. It was very worthwhile to read and become immersed into a society from many thousands of years ago.
I enjoyed this book as it mainly took place in remote wilderness; with hiking and camping and it involved a deep history of early native Indians, a great connection for my interest with archeology. I enjoyed the suspense of finding out the correlation between the teenager’s told story, and the experiences of the current day story, and how they overlapped. Once I was drawn into the story it was a bit difficult to put the book down. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars as it was a bit difficult to get involved with the story at the beginning, that, and due to the confusion of the storyline.
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