Every Hill and Mountain
Ambassador College created an opportunity for Abby Thomas to not only grow as an educator but to change the live of a young recalcitrant teen who needed support, guidance and a positive direction. Meeting Merrideth and tutoring her would at first be marked with many obstacles but later with a relationship that would slowly bond them together. Career choices are ones that we need to think about before making that final decision. Some choice specific jobs for monetary gains yet others to make a difference. Educators that are dedicated are rare and when choosing teaching as a career the person has to understand that they will embark on a bumpy ride facing many stumbling blocks along the way. Merridith and her mom live in an old house in need of repair. Her father to make up for his absence would indulge her every wish. From dealing with her Kit Kat obsession to her love of computer games Abby set herself on a course to rescue Merrideth from herself and to help raise her self-esteem. As the story opens we revisit Abby and Merrideth as they await a special visitor. Kate, Abby’s college roommate is coming to visit in order to research her family’s history or family tree. From the author of Unclaimed Legacy and Time Again comes Every Hill and Mountain where we once again learn more about a special program that Merrideth found called Beautiful Home. This amazing, one of a kind, program invites the player or visitor to take a virtual tour of the old homes shown on the home screen and go back in time to get the know and relive the events experienced by the residents that lived in that house during that time period. Using this program in both novels not only brought Abby and Merri closer but also allowed them to find out about the Buchanan family and create a special pair of grandparents for Merri. Entering into the picture is John, Abby’s boyfriend and supporter. Not sure whether this program will work they begin to think that it has a virus or something else comes into play before it will work. Meet Eulah and Beulah Edwards the twins that will not only intrigue but also entertain readers as you get to know them better. Called the Old Dears they provide the fun and excitement in Unclaimed Legacy and we meet them at the beginning of this novel as they are official welcomed into the Buchanan family. But, this story will move in a different direction as we meet Kate and her fiancé Ryan an austere, snobby and self-absorbed young man. Kate’s purpose in visiting is to enlist Abby’s help in researching a relative named Nate Greenfield. Hoping to find out more about him they decide to visit the town of Equality, interesting name, to learn more. But, when they arrive things do not go as planned, the places they want to visit are no longer available and the road to finding out what they need leads to Hickory Hill.
Exploring this town they would meet some opposition from the Chief of Police but others that would provide them with a place to stay and much more. Entering this town they enjoy learning about the Salt Festival, the history behind it and something about the people and the town. The Salt Queen, a young teen named Patty Ann provides them with much of the history of the Salt Festival, the history of the town and invites them to stay with her family. Meeting several members of the Liberty Baptist Church they enjoy an integrated service but not before John and Abby time surf and visit the past allowing readers to understand more about the times, slavery and the Underground Railroad. But, what about finding information about Ned Greenfield and just who were the Grangers that and what part did they play in this town? Finding Hickory Hill would hopefully supply more than just the answers to their questions.
Author Deborah Heal takes readers back in time when prejudice was in the forefront, slavery prominent in the South, Blacks mistreated and inside the home of one woman named Charlotte who actually protected and hid some slaves. Added in we hear the voices of several that discuss their religious beliefs and being told that they had no soul. The history of the Salt Festival is interesting and the facts you learn about Salt will help you understand the meaning of the phrase: she’s worth her salt.
Hickory Hill would provide few clues at first as they were not allowed to visit the Granger Mansion. Along with Patty Ann they managed to find the Hill and when they returned to Liberty Baptist Church, time surfed they entered a whole new world, learned more about a young man named Ned Greenfield, his family that was kidnapped or stolen and the mores of the time. But, every step of the way Ryan seems put out and annoyed yet manages to tag along. Just what does Kate see in him and will she remain with him? But, the obstacles become greater as the Chief Logan hinders their quest when they wind up on Hickory Hill in the middle of the night, the men get arrested and some fancy talking by Patty Ann is their only hope. When they finally make it in side the Granger House they are witness to John’s life, hear his words, find out more about the Salt Mine and hopefully that will lead them to Ned.
From Shawneetown which served as an important U.S. government administrative center for the North West Territory where the first bank chartered in Illinois was built to the Liberty Baptist Church and back to Hickory Hill, Abby, Katie and John wanted to learn as much as they could about Ned Greenfield. But, when the final truth comes out and her relationship to him is revealed one member of the group decides to leave but not before he steals the laptop hoping to use it for his own gain. Watching Charlotte and learning more about how she helped the slaves we learn more about John Granger and his cruelty to so many others. There was the Underground Tunnel and Granger’s reverse tunnel. What this means and how it affected so many of the slaves and indentured servants you have to read for yourself to understand the magnitude of the fear he instilled in so many and the cruelties they endured at his hand and that of his overseers. The Half Moon Salt Mine not only made him and his family rich but provide salt for so many at the expense of even more. Author Deborah Heal’s research is extensive into the time period before the Civil War and she allows readers to understand the plight of the slaves, the prejudice that ran throughout the South and the hope of one young girl to learn more about her past in order to create a special mural in the present.
Join Abby, John, Kate and Merri as they take that final journey along with Ned and find out just what happened to him and his family, where they all wound up and the end result for Kate. Just how this all comes together, what Kate learns about her past and how her grandparents tie the loose ends up for her you will have to read for yourself. Can she ever forgive those who hurt her family? Can she ever understand what Ryan tried to do? Redemption: Miss Granger an eccentric older woman and owner of Hickory Hills cannot lose sight of what her family did in the past and is having a hard time let go in the present. Take the virtual tour of the past and see the connection between Charlotte and Ned Greenfield and find out just how God would hopefully make all things new for Kate, John, Kate and Merri. What about the program Beautiful House? Will it ever work again? Will it be restored or is this the last trip they will take into the past? Let’s hope the author finds a way for Timmy work his magic and repair and bring John, Abby, Kate and Merri back for another adventure back in time. A great book to teach respect, the history of the time period, proper behavior for relationships for young teens and a great way to understand the history of the South and much more.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer