Title : Strong Heart
Author : Charlie Sheldon
Publisher : Iron Twine Press
Pages : 264
ISBN : 978-0-9970600-5-8
Story: Tom gets a rather unusual visit one fine spring morning, just before heading out to a hike with his friend William and his daughter Myra. Turns out, his long departed daughter had a daughter of her own, making him the responsible Grandfather to thirteen year old Sarah. Unwilling at first, they take Sarah to the old Bear Valley, where Tom’s grandfather Bob-bob lied, envisaging a truth they were yet to find.
Sarah appears on Tom’s doorstep almost like an unwanted guest. Though Tom and Sarah start off on the wrong foot, they soon learn to warm up to each other. What appeared to be a rather simple hike through the trail of old Olympic National Park in North America, turned out to be a life altering journey for the characters. A land steeped in rich history and culture held secrets that had to be uncovered.
Readers could take pleasure in the subtle development of the story as Tom and his friends discover an ancient spear thrower, called the atlatl, from his grandfather Bob-bob’s grave. It ignites their spirits as that atlatl, being an artifact could save the land of their ancestors from mining activities by the company of Buckhorn.
Sarah, though just thirteen, has her own way of impressing the reader with her firm and persistent attitude. Apparently cold and distant, the warmth in her character could be felt emanating right out of the pages. Tom, Myra, and William soon realise it wasn’t them taking her to the trip, it was Sarah who was leading.
The author uses a simple narrative style that can be easily picked up by novice readers. There are a lot of information fed to us by different characters at different times, scattered all throughout the book. Somehow, I felt that may be a reader could lose track, or douse his interest in the way.
The story deserves points for some real edge of the seat incidents, like when Sarah disappears, for instance. Although, I wouldn’t give full points to the writing style as there were quite a few times when the narration felt offbeat and disconnected.
I would recommend this book to crude adventure lovers, to experience an epic journey through a seemingly ordinary trip. Ancient history diggers would love to get a piece of this too. But if you are craving for a light headed novel or looking for an ordinary fiction, this is not for you. This story seeks, rather demands the readers’ undivided attention. So if you are willing to curl up on your bed along with a nice cup of coffee, you can pick this up for a good time. And also, you will not be able to resist a hiking trip to the Olympic yourself, so beware.
The author acquaints us with the deep history of the Olympic Peninsula, mentioning the likes of the legendary short face bear, the one to have been extinct since sixty thousand years. This provokes a tinge of interest in the readers’ mind.
I would rate this book 3.5 stars out of 5. Though the pace was quite slow to begin with, once you get closer to the end, you wouldn’t want to miss a single word. It’s a story of a Strong Heart, rather hearts, who embark on a quest to validate their age old existence.
So would you like to give it a read? What are your thoughts?
I received a review copy from Online Book Club which did not bias my opinions in any way.
About the Author :
Charlie Sheldon studied at Yale University and the University of Massachusetts, where he received a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Biology and Resource Management. He then went to sea as a commercial fisherman off New England, fishing for cod, haddock, hake, lobster, red crab, squid, and swordfish. He began working on ideas for Strong Heart, his tale about the Olympic Mountains, the Pacific coast, and human origins long, long ago and began serious research in 2010. These days he hikes in the Olympics whenever he can, cooks for his wife, and continues to write tales in Ballard, Washington.
Review by ©TheGirlOnTheGo (wordscantfathom.wordpress.com)