Review by Ashley Simon -- Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

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Ashley Simon
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Review by Ashley Simon -- Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

Post by Ashley Simon » 27 Sep 2017, 12:07

[Following is a volunteer review of "Strong Heart" by Charlie Sheldon.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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In Charlie Sheldon’s novel Strong Heart, the action begins from the start. We meet Tom, an older man, his good Native American friend William, and William’s daughter, Myrna. The three friends are preparing to embark on a backpacking trip through Olympic National State Park. Before they depart, Tom’s ex-wife shows up at the door with an unexpected surprise: a girl named Sarah, who turns out to be the granddaughter Tom didn’t know he had.

Thrown off by this life-changing news that stands before him in the form of a sullen teenager, Tom makes a hasty decision to bring Sarah along on the hike. Sarah is less than thrilled. As this odd foursome makes their way along the trail, we begin to learn more about Tom—and why he is on this expedition.

Shortly after they set out, Sarah wanders off to relax by a riverbank. When she returns to camp, she is visibly shaken, and holds up a drawing of the biggest black bear Tom has ever seen. The others in the group are skeptical—black bears are not common in this area—but Sarah holds to her tale. Next thing we know, Sarah has disappeared along with an important artifact that Tom brought on the trip. Where did she go? And why?

It took me a little while to connect to this story. Strong Heart is very plot-driven, and—whether this was an intentional choice by the author or not—this characters seemed rather two-dimensional in the beginning. Though I wanted to sympathize with Tom’s strong feelings of surprise and confusion toward his granddaughter, I had a hard time empathizing with him as a character, simply because I didn’t know much about him.

Further, when the four characters set off on their hike, William and Myra seemed just as surprised as Sarah by large portions of Tom’s backstory. This also struck me as a bit odd. For three people who were planning an intense hike through the wilderness, they seemed to know little about each other, and the lack of a developed relationship between these three characters made them seem shallow.

However, as the book continued, I quickly got over my indifference toward the cast of Strong Heart. Sheldon possesses an exceptional ability to craft a compelling mystery. About halfway through the book, the story shifts to the perspective of Sarah as she confesses the bizarre story behind her disappearance. This is where the novel truly began to captivate me, as I believe Sheldon does an excellent job of conveying Sarah’s voice, and I found her an empathetic character.

Overall, I am giving this book a 4 out of 4 rating. There were no significant editorial issues to interfere with my enjoyment of this book. Though I would have enjoyed delving into the backstory of some of the characters before jumping into a fast-paced plot, I believe this is more of a personal preference, and do not believe it detracted from the voice of the novel. If you are looking for a captivating adventure story with a solid cast of characters and an arduous (and mysterious) quest, this may be just the book for you!

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Strong Heart
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kislany
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Post by kislany » 28 Sep 2017, 11:26

You've sold me on the book. I love fast-paced adventure novels where adrenaline pumps through your veins while you're reading, and this book seems just what I was looking for. Thanks for the great review.

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Ashley Simon
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Post by Ashley Simon » 28 Sep 2017, 11:56

kislany wrote:You've sold me on the book. I love fast-paced adventure novels where adrenaline pumps through your veins while you're reading, and this book seems just what I was looking for. Thanks for the great review.
Thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Post by Gingerbo0ks » 28 Sep 2017, 18:01

I'm reading this at the moment, I've just got to the bit where it switches to Sarah's point of view. I'm glad to see that you say the book helps you to connect with the characters more from this point on.
A nice review :)
"One must always be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

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Ashley Simon
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Post by Ashley Simon » 29 Sep 2017, 04:26

Gingerbo0ks wrote:I'm reading this at the moment, I've just got to the bit where it switches to Sarah's point of view. I'm glad to see that you say the book helps you to connect with the characters more from this point on.
A nice review :)
I thought that part was great. Thanks for reading!

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Post by jeminah28 » 29 Sep 2017, 05:35

I like the story and I think it is full of mystery. I wanna read it and add it to my library. Thanks Ashley.
"Reading never stops even if there is an ending."
_jem_

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Ashley Simon
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Post by Ashley Simon » 29 Sep 2017, 08:10

jeminah28 wrote:I like the story and I think it is full of mystery. I wanna read it and add it to my library. Thanks Ashley.
Let me know what you think when you read it!

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Post by kjoan » 29 Sep 2017, 14:27

Great review
I might just try reading this. Glad to know beforehand what to expect with the characters :) rather than get confused in the middle of a racing plot.
Thanks a lot.

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Post by Spirit Wandering » 29 Sep 2017, 19:30

Like you, I had a hard time connecting to Tom's character. I much preferred Sarah and William. Good review!
Interested in books that help one's spirit move beyond the ordinary.

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Post by Vickie Noel » 30 Sep 2017, 01:22

I'm currently reading this book and finding it kinda tough but I think I'll have to wait patiently till I get to the fast-paced parts. Thanks for the review.
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Post by mumoscar » 02 Oct 2017, 00:28

The story sounds fascinating. Been planning to read the book for long and I think it's time I got to have it read. The review is informative.

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Post by Cyril Stephano Lissu » 04 Oct 2017, 00:23

Characters' backstories would intensify my desire to pick the book. However fast-paced and fascinating features would have compensated such setback. Congratulation for great review.

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Post by Amagine » 05 Oct 2017, 18:03

I read Strong Heart for the BOTM. It was an interesting read. I especially enjoyed the scenes with the character, Strong Heart.

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