The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles Book 2)
by John A. Heldt
Print Length: 659 pages
Publication Date: April 30, 2018
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents' Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T's.
The five Carson siblings have now time traveled from 1889 (River Rising: The Carson Chronicles Book 1) to 1918. They are still trying to find their missing parents and they are using locations from their family history hoping that their parents may be there too.
Adam and Bridget settle in Minnesota awaiting the birth of their child. There they make friends with neighbors who are relatives in the Carson past.
Gregg goes to Mexico seeking to meet with their great-grandparents from that branch of the family. Unfortunately, he fails to figure out how he will legally cross the border without proper papers and with a criminal past, even if it is from twenty-nine years before. His behavior isn’t exactly honorable. First he makes friends with a pretty redhead librarian in El Paso. After he manages to sneak into Mexico he meets another strong, independent redhead who really captures his interest. His attempts to help her puts him in hot water with the law once again, making for a difficult exit strategy.
Natalie lands a dream job first in Chicago and then as a war correspondent. She travels to France to interview soldiers on the front lines where she makes coincidental friends with family related friends.
The 18-year-old twins, Cody and Caitlin, travel to Pennsylvania where Cody hopes to meet his 1889 crush, Emma, even though she is now married with grown children. He hopes that the visit will allow him to convince his heart to move on. They just have to figure out how to tell her that they are time travelers who haven’t aged at all over the past 29 years.
Again, Mr. Hedlt creates engaging, warm characters and interesting situations where he shares wonderful historical detail. There is excitement and danger in the Minnesota wildfire, complications below the border and war weary soldiers in France. I loved the concept of the Memory Tree in Pennsylvania.
This story is a bit longer than my usual reading, but it kept me engaged all the way through. As I neared the end I was a little disconcerted to realize that would be another crisis ending leaving the journey to continue in the next volume. I really wasn’t thrilled with this scenario, especially as it meant that obvious steps of connecting with their parents were missed or ignored by the children. (For example, once they realized that their parents had sent them a message, why didn’t they try to communicate in the same manner?) Still, the story moves at a good pace with entertaining action and history. I am curious to see what happens to the characters in their next time travel jump. I recommend this to readers who enjoy well developed characters, historical detail and time travel complications.