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The Reluctant Hero Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Flaps Down sets up a situation that has some of the expected elements (the hero, Parnell, and heroine, Rebecca, get off on the wrong foot and don't seem like much of a match at all, another common romance plot point) and a few that are far from the norm, a group of orphans the heroine is escorting on a trip would seem to be plenty to put a damper on romance, but then when the plane crashes, stranding the group in the wilderness, I'd have thought the odds of a romance blossoming were nil. Of course, I was wrong. How they get to that ending and the events that happen to them on the way are intense and often humorous, as Rebecca and Parnell learn that things they've long believe were true about themselves and others aren't always, and grow as people as well as into a couple. I also enjoyed the orphans who added more to the story than I anticipated.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Prickly, scruffy, grumpy, beset by financial woes and painful disappointments, Parnell Stillman becomes, if possible, even more disgruntled upon learning that the group of social workers he thought were his passengers are, in fact, one pretty, but quarrelsome, young woman and a bunch of annoying kids. That they actually might touch his heart is something he absolutely will not acknowledge or tolerate.
Once the flight is under way, things go from bad to worse. Even Parnell's skill and talent cannot save the plane from the ravages of a violent and unpredictable storm over the Sierras. With severe damage to the small aircraft, there is only one direction they can go: down.
Author Jackie Weger has written a wonderful story – at once nail-biting and heartwarming – full of vivid characters who face all manner of challenges, both physical and emotional. Parnell and Rebecca may be difficult and stubborn, but they also have charm, courage, perseverence, and unselfish hearts. (I was particularly touched by Parnell's willingness to go out in the swirling snow to retrieve a child's imaginary pet.) The couple reminded me of younger versions of Charlie Allnut and Rose Sayer from "The African Queen." The children, especially self-reliant and inventive Santee, undaunted Nicholas, and needy little Molly, could find their way into the hardest heart. They are fully-developed characters who add urgency, poignance, and humor to the story.
Ms. Weger has also completely realized a setting – the harsh, beautiful, wintry Sierra Nevada wilderness – so intense, gripping, and powerful that it's a character all by itself. The story is actually physically uncomfortable to read in spots because the reader is so completely transported into that cold, unforgiving country. Parnell's harrowing swim through an ice-choked lake to retrieve supplies from the half-submerged plane is almost unbearable. Be sure you have blankets, hot chocolate, and a crackling fire going before reading. You've been warned!
A minor caveat or two: Although the story is ostensibly set in the present day, there is a pervasive nostalgic feel to ON A WING AND A PRAYER. It seems set in an earlier, simpler time – one free from computerized and regulated everything. While a little puzzling at first, that ultimately didn't bother me, as most of the story takes place in the wilderness. There are a few print glitches here and there, but nothing that detracts from the reading experience.
I highly recommend this novel for its gripping story, vivid and relatable characters, heartwarming emotion, humor, and (even though we know where the story's going) real – sometimes harrowing – suspense!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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> > Judging a Book by it's Cover < <
Eye-catching composition with strong title font and...Read more
Happy to have read. Did not expect the ending. Does not take long it read.
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