4 out of 4 stars
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In Strong Heart, Charlie Sheldon not only takes us on a hiking trip in a beautiful wilderness park, but he also takes us on a journey by sharing some of the legends of native Americans.
When Tom, his friend William, and William's daughter Myra prepare for a hiking trip to honor Tom's grandfather and tend to his grave, they get interrupted by a knock on Tom's door. His ex-wife is standing there with a teenager who claims she is their granddaughter. The ex-wife tells Tom he now has to take care of the girl, Sarah. Tom does not know how to react to this insolent teenager who starts by insulting his home and living conditions. When William suggests they take Sarah with them on the trip, Tom reluctantly agrees. Sarah is not a fan of this idea, but she has no choice, so she joins the little group of friends, all the while moaning and complaining and being rude.
During the trip, Sarah disappears for eight days, and when they find her again, her entire attitude has changed. She shares her story and the insights she gained into the legends of the natives. To use the author's words, is Tom taking Sarah, or is Sarah taking Tom on a journey?
What I liked most about the book are the beautiful descriptions of nature. I enjoy hiking, discovering parks and mountains, and through the author's stories, I could almost imagine myself being part of Tom's small group. The little drawing around each new chapter's number helps set the scenery. When Sarah started telling her story, I was a little bit bored by the lengthy descriptions and the slow pace. I wanted her to get to the point. By reading further, I realized that her experiences in themselves are the point. Instead of rushing through those chapters, I sat down and relaxed and sampled every word in the context.
While reading this book, I kept changing my mind about the score I would give. It started as a four. When the lengthy descriptions began, I wanted to rate three stars. And then I got into Sarah's story and changed my mind back to four stars. That's my final decision, I am comfortable rating this book 4 out of 4 stars and recommending it to others. As for the audience, I think nature lovers and well as people who enjoy legends will appreciate this book. There are hardly any spelling mistakes. I want to add some caution: the book has descriptive fighting scenes, where humans hurt each other, and where humans and animals fight. There are references to unconsented sexual activity without any details, but it may make some readers uncomfortable.
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