Friday, July 17, 2015

Heart of a Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry

Brother is the youngest in the family, but with his brothers away at school and his father deployed in Iraq, he alone has to share responsibility for the family ranch with his aging grandparents.  Brother has no idea of how he'll manage, but with help from a hired farmhand, the pastor, and friends, they get through a fair share of adventures.  Along the way, Brother comes to understand the importance of those social links and determines his own calling in life.

Filled with heart and grit, and a whole cadre of decent folks, Parry tackles the emotion-laden world of hard-working military families and ranchers in this tear-jerking juggernaut.  It's an accepted fact that you will bawl by the end of the story as Parry pulls all the usual heartstrings.  However, there are unexpected touches, like Brother's devout Quaker grandfather that will surprise you.  The result is a classic coming-of-age story that stands out for its respectful portrayal of a rural life that is so often maligned or simplified by suburban writers.

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