Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon is a beautiful story that tells of the healing power of nature, the love between family, and the ties that bind our ancestry. Tom Olson is heading out on a backpacking trip in the Olympic Peninsula Wilderness in Washington State with his friends when a knock sounds at his door. On the other side of that door stands Sarah Cooley, an abandoned thirteen year old girl. Come to find out, that thirteen year old isn’t a runaway or a foster child but his long-lost granddaughter. Along this trip comes a story that is a coming together of both Hatchet and A Call In the Wild as the story proves that no matter where you go, it’s what you’re made of that shows when your only choice is to survive.
While reading the book, I found myself instantly enthralled with Sheldon’s writing style. How it sweeps you in like a breeze along a hiking trail. I reminisced about reading books that had similar storylines and plot points in my youth, and what it felt like to escape inside a book again. Reading this book made me love reading again, and for that was the biggest aspect of all. There are few books that I read as an adult and thoroughly enjoy but this one kept me reading, I enjoyed learning nature and geological facts while reading as well as being swept up in the storytelling of the Native American ancestral stories.
Some aspects of the book were two overwhelming with geological facts and I found myself not being able to stay focused in those parts. The emphasis of the strong main characters were what would pull me back in and remind me why I began to read this book and fall in love with this story: Tom and Sarah’s bond was definitely something I connected with on many levels, and felt anyone could find a connection with when reading this book.
I rate this book four out of five stars because while it helped me fall in love with reading again because it reminded me of the stories of youth, it also contained a lot of detail within the geological fact parts that made me lose my focus while reading and actually struggle with certain levels of sensory overload.
My recommendation is that those who go to read this book are aware that a good ten to twenty chapters of the book are geological and nonfiction in writing, they do not read like fiction but instead contribute a lot to educate the reader of real life issues with the ecosystem, etc.
I found no errors while reading but am unsure if I would read the follow-up books in this series because of the geological memoir like sections of the book.