4 out of 4 stars
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Charlie Sheldon is a true story teller; he winds together the lives of many people in a seamless way and connects you to all. The book opens on ship on fire in the Gulf of Alaska. The reader is pulled into the confusion and urgency of the situation in a real way that rings true. Mr. Sheldon captures the feelings and responses of the crew as they are forced to abandon ship in life boats. The men and women trust that rescuers would find the two small crafts before they died of exposure or their injuries.
While the crew is fighting for their lives, the reader meets the people who care about the crew and ship. People both waiting for their loved ones to return and those who brave the weather and danger to salvage the now abandoned adrift ship. The reader gets the perspective of several characters; having the chapters titled with the subject’s name makes for an easy transition.
The reader learns about the personal struggles of the characters and the small details included invest you in their daily lives. You are included in custody battles, coffee and donut runs, long lost cousins and sons with developmental disabilities. I’m happy to know that there is a first book, and I could see a subsequent book. I am emotionally invested in this town and with these people’s lives and am happy to not have that ending.
While Adrift is the second tale in the Strong Heart series, you can easily pick up without having read the first story. There was a story within the story that would have been easier to follow had I read the first book, but that didn’t reduce my enjoyment and was my least favorite part about the book. I enjoyed most the way Mr. Sheldon created the characters. From the first page of the first chapter I was invested in the characters. At no point was I reading but not engaged. The book was very well edited and drew me into the story.
There were a few story lines that I expected a little more development on or to tie together more. In thinking about it, the book developed more as would happen in real life and I realized it was the literary liberties that I have come to expect in fiction. I give this book four out of four stars and expect to reread it in the future to glean more about the characters. I rated it four stars because I enjoyed the intersecting story loops and feel as though I now know the characters. I think the story would especially appeal to someone who has spent time on the water or familiar with the region, but it’s an easy read that I feel would be widely enjoyed.
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