During the school’s February half-term break, I decided to pick up the rather beastie The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt, the second book in Heldt’s third time-travelling series: Carson Chronicles; as I knew from reading the first book, River Rising last year, I would need more free time to really get stuck into this.
In this second instalment, Heldt continues the time-travelling misadventures of the five modern Carson siblings, who are still in search of their missing parents. The family’s stay in the steel city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889 – the Golden Age America of bustle dresses, gunslingers, and robber barons – was unsuccessful and ended in a watery tragedy to boot, from which they barely escaped with all of their lives. Now they are trying their luck in 1918 – The age of doughboys, silent movies and Model T’s.
To further their chances of success in this new time period, the family decide to split themselves up across areas that they know would be of family interest to their parents. Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in a log cabin in Minnesota; Greg goes to cause trouble down Mexico-way; Natalie follows a trail to WWI stricken France; and teen twins, Cody and Caitlin go to stay with an old friend in Pennsylvania.
As in the previous book, the narration skips between each of the siblings, but also in this book with have narration from Bridget and their parents: Tim and Caroline, so we have the chance to see the different experiences they all have of 1918 and how in many cases they are so close to meeting – Like ships passing in the night! On their travels they ALL make multiple new friends too, and in Greg’s case, two more lady-friends and several more enemies! 🤨
So there were still a lot of characters to get my head around, but of course these many characters and threads do also add more jeopardy to the story, as the Carsons face war, a wildfire, a woman scorned and a gun toting gang looking for revenge. In fact sometimes there was a little too much sadness and jeopardy for me, and I had to take a break from reading, especially as I was still in the throes of England’s third lockdown in gloomy February – I was hoping for a little more escapism from this, however that is more my mood than the books fault.
So overall, The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt proved to be a slower and sadder read then I had anticipated, however it was a jeopardy filled time-travelling adventure, with more interesting real events and details worked into it. I still look forward to reading the next instalment in the series, Indian Paintbrush, however I will need to take a break and only pick it up when I am in the right mood for it. Okay read ⭐
(Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and I am counting this book towards my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021)
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? Or any other time-travelling adventures you would recommend?