Author John A. Heldt provided me with an e-copy of Indian Paintbrush, the third entry in the Carson Chronicles series for review.
Having now read all thirteen of Mr. Heldt's books, it has been interesting to witness his growth as a story-teller. From the beginning he was a talented author and his stories are well crafted and very entertaining. He mixes history, science fiction (time travel) and relationships into compelling, fun and sometimes heartbreaking tales.
Indian Paintbrush showcases Heldt's growth in crystal clarity. The story is so complex, seamlessly weaving WWII history with the Carson family children as they continue their quest to reunite with their parents. The story has more depth of emotion and evokes more compassion for the characters, in my opinion, than previous books. I found myself talking to the author while reading ("John, don't let this happen" and such). The family now finds themselves immersed in 1944 America. They meet the people who have to deal daily with the World War Two. From men who want to do their part to Japanese-Americans held in internment camps. The Carson men also have to face scrutiny for not being part of the war effort.
I really enjoy how the author weaves in characters from earlier books. Meeting friends who have aged while they haven't. Lots of bittersweet moments. This makes for a flowing narrative, like real life where things and people come and go and return again. This of course means the reader needs to read the series from the beginning to get full enjoyment and understanding (fortunately a pleasant task).
As usual, you see I don't share a lot of the story line. I feel if I did that you wouldn't need to read the book, and you really should read this book. But I will share this; there is suspense, romance, tragedy, almost sex (yes sex, almost), even a running gun battle with police.
Probably the best thing I can say, among all the praise I have heaped on Indian Paintbrush, is that Mr. Heldt has already hooked me for the next book, and didn't have to use a cliffhanger ending to do it. He has crafted such a compelling and emotionally engaging story that readers will naturally find themselves eagerly anticipating the next installment. So, in case you didn't catch it, I highly recommend you check out Indian Paintbrush as well as the rest of the Carson Chronicles by John A. Heldt your effort will be rewarded. Enjoy!