It’s like being there. . . only you can fast forward or rewind.
“Time-surfing is better than actually being there,” Abby explained. “It’s like reading a good book, where you know everything the characters are thinking and feeling. And if you miss something, you can always rewind their lives.”
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 the program worked so well for the Old Dears’ family tree project, Abby’s college roommate Kate hopes it will help her find out more about her ancestor Ned Greenfield. And Kate’s fiancé Ryan thinks the program has lucrative commercial potential.
Abby and John reluctantly agree to help Kate, but only on the condition that she and Ryan promise to keep the program a secret, because if it fell into the wrong hands…well, no one wants Big Brother invading their privacy.
The two couples take a trip to the tiny town of Equality, set in the hills of southern Illinois and the breath-taking Shawnee National Forest. According to Kate’s research, Ned Greenfield was born there at a place called Hickory Hill.
The mayor, police chief, and townspeople are hospitable and helpful—until the topic of Hickory Hill comes up. They seem determined to keep them away, telling them, “There’s nothing there for you to see.”
Eventually they 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.
Abby and her friends meet Miss Granger, Hickory Hill’s current eccentric owner, and they eventually get the chance to time-surf there. Their shocking discovery on the third floor concerning Kate’s ancestor Ned Greenfield 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.
What readers are saying about Every Hill and Mountain:
I enjoyed the first book in the trilogy with it’s unique version of time travel and the second was even more interesting and now the third book is absolutely fascinating. Abby and John are very realistic characters and I would like to see more of them but the historical parts are what really kept me riveted. The author brings the past to life in such a way that I feel I am right there. Look forward to more books by this author.
Abby and John are back, and once again doing some time surfing. This adventure involves trying to research the family tree of Abby’s best friend, Kate. Kate has traced her ancestry to a man named Ned Greenfield, in the small town of Equality. The town looks old fashioned and idealistic, but slowly the sleuthing team discovers that not all is as it seems on the surface. They discover the town has a deeply held secret, one that has a significant impact on Kate’s family.
I am completely enchanted with this series. I think that this third book may be my favorite yet, because it truly elicited emotional responses from me. First off, we have some of the old characters that we know and love from the previous books. I enjoy watching Abby and John’s relationship evolve. They truly function as a team, and it reminds me of my marriage. I also liked having the storyline involve Kate a lot more. While as a character I really disliked Kate’s boyfriend Ryan, he was well written, and served a distinct purpose in the plot.
Speaking of the plot, I really loved the storyline, with a big emphasis on slavery, and the darker side of the slave trade in 19th century America. This plot was emotional, not only due to it’s actual historical context, but in light of all the people in today’s world who are still denied their rights and freedoms. Given the historical context, the language and themes are a little more uncomfortable than in the previous books in the series, but I think it is important the the author tackled them in an honest way.
I never had any doubt that this third book would be fantastic, based on how much I liked the first two, but this surpassed my expectations. The book is Christian fiction, but the emphasis on evangelism is very low. Violence and sexuality are mildly present within the appropriate context of the story, but by and large this is a very clean book, one that a parent would feel comfortable allowing a teen to read.
I received a review copy courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.
“Every Hill and Mountain”, the 3rd book of Deborah Heal’s trilogy, once again kept me captivated with twists and turns to the very end. I love the way the characters are developed. I felt as though I’d known all of them for a long time. In this book, Deborah takes us to the Southern part of Illinois, which then as now, is a different world from the Central & Northern sections of the State. Readers learn dark secrets from the mid 1800s, right along with Abby, John, Merri, Kate & Ryan. As they use the time-travel computer software to help Kate find a missing link in her family history, they discover unbelievable secrets from Hickory Hill, with tragic detail. No wonder the citizens of Equality wanted the secrets to remain. Expertly researched and skillfully written, this book is an enjoyable read for young and old alike. If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, I would most definitely recommend that you do.
Ms. heal did a very good job in blending the present with the past. She even piqued my curiosity enough that I did a little research on my own after I was finished with the book. This is the first historical fiction novel to make me want to dig a little deeper to see if something that was written was fact or fiction. Kudos to you, Ms. Heal, for accomplishing that!
While the book was clean and the main characters were moral Christians, this does have a fine theme of more adult situations toward the end. Because of this, I’d recommend this for 16+ teens and older. I would add this to my list of homeschool books to read for this particular era.
My thanks to the author for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion. These thoughts are my own and I was not required they be good.
To see all the reviews go to Amazon.com.
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