Recent Reviews for Deborah Heal
Every Hill and Mountain (Book) - 9/7/2013 6:10:03 PM|
Every Hill and Mountain—An Entertaining Mystery!
Deborah Heal considers herself a Christian fiction author. Right there, for a lot of people, that would wave the red flag: “Stop! Do not enter!” “This will contain over-zealous subject matter meant to weave a certain message into the story in which to enlighten or prescribe the author’s beliefs.” I almost passed up the chance to read this fun trilogy because of this worry. Through the first book, I turned every page with much trepidation that a preacher would jump out of page 25, 137, or 192 to scream at me about his way to see the light. In certain times and places I find this acceptable, but not when I am reading for enjoyment and to relax.
I was so wrong! In all three books--nothing like that happened at all. As a matter of fact, Ms. Heal did an excellent job of writing a great three-part story that young adults on up can enjoy. The first book was an introduction to Merri, Abby, and John and the Beautiful Home computer program. The second book took us on another adventure with the cheerful trio and their neighbors to seek out a puzzle of heritage. This last book delved further into Illinois history as Merri, Abby, and John used their unique computer program to help Kate, (Abby’s roommate from college) find an ancestor by the name of Ned Greenfield from Equality, Illinois.
Their arrival to Equality gave them an unexpected surprise. Everyone they met was hometown friendly in a down-home sort of way. The streets were crowded; and it wasn’t until they met the local sheriff that they learned it was the annual Salt Days celebration to commemorate when the village was founded in 1735. The area was the hub for salt mining in the United States after the Indians surrendered the “Great Salt Springs” to the US government by treaty way back when (Wikipedia). The story continues with little tidbits of local history to amuse and entertain as is the author’s penchant for sneaking in lessons without our being consciously aware we’re being taught.
With all the information they try to find out about this Greenfield relative of Kate’s, the farther down the family tree he seems to slip. These friendly villagers start to clam up and the true hunt begins. This tale tells of a salt baron’s ruthless rise to success, slavery—the likes of which you’ve never heard before, a spooky third floor in a mansion, and a ditzy old woman who has the answers, but takes to having “spells” when questioned too much.
On the social scene, John and Abby’s crush deepens as Abby (figuratively) pulls the petals off the daisy one-by-one “He loves me. . . . He loves me not.” This couple prefers to follow the old-fashion values of genteel courtship until marriage; whereas, Abby’s friend, Kate, was lured into a more complicated, serious relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan. The subject of sex is mentioned in the book, but it is handled with intelligence and decorum.
Now that the trilogy is over, I look back and shake my head when I think I almost missed a great opportunity to learn so much about our history and the history of Illinois. The information was presented in a unique mystery story that was fully entertaining and enjoyable. I liked the books so much that if I had my druthers, I’d like Ms. Heal to drop the trilogy and just continue the storyline into a lengthy series. I enjoyed the characters so much that I could imagine them on more adventures of this kind, and as long as the program is willing—why not? If more of us hungry readers are so inclined to persuade her, perhaps we can change her mind about this being the last book. I’m certain that the state of Illinois has many more hidden tales to tell that the Beautiful Home computer program could bring to light.
I’d like to thank author Deborah Heal for this lovely copy of Every Hill and Mountain in exchange for my honest review.
Unclaimed Legacy (Book) - 7/16/2013 4:36:16 PM
Another Great Book by Ms. Heal!
“Time and Again” was a great introduction to Abby, Merri, John, and all the others living about in the Miles Station’s neighborhood. By the time I had turned to that last page I felt like I had made some new friends. “Unclaimed Legacy’s” genuine warmth and down home spirit turned those new friends into my old friends--people I’d grown up with in my old neighborhood. You know . . . the ones who make you feel like you were a part of their family. And, what is more fun than having a summer adventure with your pals from the old neighborhood? This time, Eulah and Beulah need to solve a long-time mystery in their family tree and there is only one way that Abby, Merri, and John can help them. Of course, by now . . . you know what that is from reading “Time and Again.”
“Unclaimed Legacy” really has great character development and character interaction. There is a little love-play tension between Abby and John throughout the book. The history of Eulah and Beulah’s bloodline dances around a great mysterious tale that only can be solved through the odd and quirky computer program that has intrigued our three friends from the beginning. Adding the new characters gives a bit of depth and suspense to the mystery.
But, I really appreciated the way this author weaves all the history of the area into the story. I’m not a great history lover but in this book there is nothing glaring or boring with dull facts that will cause you to nod off. I was almost through reading the whole book before I realized how many historical tidbits were presented. With the little I know of the third story and my experience with the first two, I am really excited to get into the last one of the trilogy.
It is so refreshing to just have a good story to kick back, relax, and unwind from a trying day. Every night I read it before hitting the hay and the worst part of that is the book is done. It was really something to look forward to in ending my day. The good news is I have the last book of the trilogy left to read. And, I can’t wait!
I’d like to thank Deborah Heal for this beautiful copy of “Unclaimed Legacy” in exchange for an honest review.
Time and Again (Book) - 12/26/2012 12:36:48 PM
Charming! Quaint! Clever!
Time and Again is a good, wholesome, old fashioned story with a modern twist. This charming tale touches upon many of the hard issues that kids have to face today—depression, bullying, weight issues, absentee parents, abandonment, self-esteem, and young love. It is written in such a way that these issues, which seem so momentous at first, gently blend into the background and simply melt away as the relationship between Abby and Meredith develops and they become fast friends.
Both girls are embarking on new adventures in their lives. Abby just graduated from college, has taken a summer job—her first job, as a live-in tutor. Meredith recently moved to the lonely, empty little town of Miles Station with her mother to an old historic home she inherited. Determined to make a new life for them, her mother must work all sorts of crazy hours, which leaves Meredith with nothing to do. She is feeling angry and dejected, and the last thing she wants is a babysitter hanging around, pestering, her all day long.
Naturally, the story does not end there . . . the old house promises some mysterious, quirky surprises for the two as they delve into its history and of the presently defunct town of Miles Station.
Ms. Heal did a marvelous job in addressing some of the confusion that children have in growing up while trying to understand the adult world. In this, the book turns an enjoyable story into a chapter by chapter mini life-lessons book for teenagers. Her teaching style is crafted in such a way to make you think you are just reading a fun story. She offers so much in the way of learning history, relationships, people, and in surviving the turbulent teenage years, that you will want to read it time and again.
Note: I would like to thank Deborah Heal for this lovely copy of her book, and to Review the Book.com for the opportunity to review it.
Time and Again (Book) - 2/11/2012 9:31:12 PM
"Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station" by Deborah Heal was a fun adventure! The author's effective description of time and place and attention to character development drew me into the story at the start and left me in anticipation of the next in the series. Though I grew up near where the story is set, I had no idea of the place's fascinating history. "Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station" has definitely sparked my interest in Southern Illinois history, and I look forward to returning for a visit, and perhaps doing a little exploring of my own!