4 out of 4 stars
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Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon is a fictional story of learning about one’s past heritage and how that knowledge can assist us in our lives today. There is also the theme of trusting oneself and others. The setting is Olympic National Park in Washington state.
Tom, his friend William and William’s adult daughter, Myra are getting ready for a major camping trip into the mountains to check on Tom’s father’s grave and retrieve something Tom left there. As they are packing and checking gear, Tom’s ex-wife, Ruth, comes to the door with the granddaughter neither of them knew existed. Sarah’s mother has passed away, several years ago, and her step-father is off to Europe. Ruth and her husband, Fletcher, have had thirteen-year-old Sarah for four days and that has been enough of her sullenness and general bad behaviors for them to deal with. Ruth has decided it is Tom’s turn, drops her off and is on her way quickly. Sarah is cold, hungry and not happy to be left in the “total boonies” as she calls Tom’s place. After some debate, Tom agrees they will take Sarah camping with them and the adventure begins.
This story kept me very engaged in reading and longing to find out what would happen next. The characters are described well and I could feel Tom’s struggle as he tried to decide what to do with Sarah. William struggles with walking though Myra is there to support and assist him in loving ways. Myra is a planner and helper and uses those skills throughout the story. She bonds with Sarah and is able to gain a level of trust others haven’t. Sarah has been a problem since her mother died and spent some time in a juvenile detention center. When she feels her story of an experience in the mountains is not believed by her grandfather, it is especially hurtful to her. The way Sarah reacts to her feelings is what I would expect from a young teen so I found her character to be very realistic. I found parts of Sarah’s story to get a bit long but otherwise the story moves at a good pace. I believe the author did a very nice job of blending the historical information into the modern-day story. There are several twists and turns in the story which would give too much away but suffice it to say this is not just a quiet hike through the mountains with no distractions.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. There is a lot of action and the story moves along quickly keeping the reader engaged. I noticed no errors in the book and the story line is very easy to follow.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction and stories about the beginning of humans in the Americas. It will also appeal to those who enjoy reading about the mountains and family relationships.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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