4 out of 4 stars
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The book, Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon is published by Iron Twine Press and printed in the USA. The story follows Tom and his personal quest to visit his grandfather's grave located deep in the wilderness of Olympic National Park. Before he departs with his two friends he's unexpectedly introduced to a granddaughter he didn't know existed, Sarah. A series of unfortunate events have led to this union and due to bad timing he reluctantly tags her along for the trip. Deep in the wilderness, Tom reveals his true intent, specifically the mystery surrounding the secret ancient artifact in his possession and it's? ties with his grandfather. A separate series of outlandish events concerning Sarah's disappearance, the involvement of third party interests on the artifact and family conflicts sets the stage for a gripping tale.
This seems to be a very well researched book. Set in location, the author describes the environment quite deeply throughout the book. Though sounding monotonous at times, I believe its part of the author's charm and success in creating a nearly cinematic scene as the tale unfolds.
The characters are also described quite well, creating a lasting impression. It starts with the background history of Tom and Sarah, told separately and progressively throughout the book. Especially the events leading to the current time and quest. Though less history is given of the other characters, their interaction throughout the tale builds on their significance and sometimes unique understanding of situations, people and environment. The unique blend of characters, scenes and plot twists has the markings of a good story and the author doesn't disappoint.
From the rebellious adolescent in Sarah, to the strong minded convictions of an aging man in Tom the author describes a common family scene familiar to most people. I personally found myself acknowledging Sarah. She was not only able to survive her frightening ordeal but even bested her more experienced outlandish captors in some areas in a relatively short time. A skill that would come in handy in the story.
I'd rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The book is themed on Amerindian history, time travel, nature and family relations. I was particularly drawn to the outlandish events as described by Sarah during her disappearance. That on its own would make for a thrilling novel. I'd recommend the book to anyone with a particular interest in history, however, graphic descriptions of animal attacks may put off some. A great book to read tucked under a tree, someplace in the woods.
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