Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Every Hill and Mountain by Deborah Heal ~ review

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (March 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482609169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482609165

This book is also available as an ebook.

Those who have read Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy know that Abby Thomas is a college student on a summer service project with 11-year-old Merri. And they know that the summer is not going the way Abby had expected—but in a good way. For one thing, she meets a very nice guy named John Roberts. And for another, she discovers a strange computer program called Beautiful House that lets her fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but those of the people who lived in Merri’s old house. And the Old Dears’ old house, and…well, any old house.

And since Beautiful House worked so well for the Old Dears’ genealogy project, Abby’s college roommate Kate hopes it will help her find out more about her ancestor. Ned Greenfield was born at a place called Hickory Hill in the tiny town of Equality, set in the hills of southern Illinois and the breath-taking Shawnee National Forest. 

Abby and John reluctantly agree to help her, but only on the condition that she and her fiancé Ryan promise to keep the program a secret, because if it fell into the wrong hands…well, no one wants Big Brother looking over his shoulder.

The mayor, police chief, and townspeople of Equality are hospitable and helpful—until the topic of Hickory Hill comes up. Eventually Abby and her friends find Hickory Hill on their own—both the mansion and the lonely hill it sits upon. Built in 1834, Hickory Hill stands sentinel over Half Moon Salt Mine where the original owner John Granger accumulated his blood-tainted fortune. 

They meet Miss Granger, Hickory Hill’s current eccentric owner and eventually get the chance to time-surf there. Their shocking discovery on the third floor is almost too much to bear. What they learn sends them racing to the opposite end of the state to find the missing link in Kate’s family tree. And there they are reminded that God is in the business of redemption—that one day he’ll make all things new.

My take on this book:
To say Abby Thomas has had an interesting summer is a huge understatement. While tutoring eleven year old Merri in Miles Station, Illinois they discover a unique computer program called Beautiful House that allows them to virtually time travel into the past. They have decided to keep the program a secret only telling John Roberts a young man who Abby has become fond of along with Kate Greenfield Abby's best friend. When Kate decides to research her family tree, she hits a snag when she comes to a man named Ned Greenfield, who lived in a small town named Equality. Abby's best friend Kate Greenfield has been doing her families genealogy,but hits a snag when she comes to a man named Ned Greenfield. Kate comes to Miles Station along with her boyfriend Ryan hoping that Abby can use the program to help her figure out who Ned was. They uncover secrets from the past that not only shock them, but also allows Kate to see what kind of man Ryan really is!

"Every Hill and Mountain" takes the reader on an amazing journey into the past while keeping a firm foot in the present.  I found the central characters of Abby, Kate,John and Merri to be wonderful characters, good and wholesome are two words that pop into my head where they are concerned. Although Kate was pulled off track for a while by the end of the story she saw Ryan for what he really was. I found the concept of virtual time travel really lent another element to this story, but more than that it made the historical elements seem so much more realistic. While I really enjoyed the characters it was the historical story that unfolded about Ned that really gripped me. As his story is told, it saddened my heart, causing me to shed a few tears.  Ms. Heal certainly knew how to bring history to life within the pages of this story, I learned a few things I never really thought about, but was also left wanting to learn more. While she deals with the tough subject of slavery, she does it in a manner that allows us a clear, honest look at how things might have been, but also provided me with the hope of freedom that came for many. While this is book three of a series, I feel like it could be read as a stand alone story, I did read the first book, but missed the second one but that didn't hinder me from totally understanding this story. The author provides an ending that left me hoping that she might continue this series. Overall, a story perfect for teens and adults alike, teens will connect with the characters in the story, and come away with a history lesson that is far from boring. 

Reviewed for Readersfavorite.com

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