Defiant Heart by Marty Steere
BOOK DESCRIPTION ON AMAZON:
In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer’s family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town. He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned.
Mary Dahlgren is the mayor’s daughter. A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including Vernon King, the star of the vaunted high school basketball team. To the chagrin of her friends, though, Mary has always been more interested in books than boys. That is, until she meets Jon.
But Jon and Mary are kept apart through the efforts of Mary’s father, who perceives their relationship a threat to his political aspirations, and Vernon, to whom Jon is a rival for Mary’s affections. For months Jon is subjected to a painful ostracism. Then, just when the young man’s earnestness and perseverance begin to win over many of the townsfolk and it appears that love may conquer all, tragedy strikes.
As the country is caught up in war, so too are the young lovers swept up in events beyond their control, leaving both fighting for their very lives. If, against the odds, they are to be together, each will need to find the strength, the courage and the resourcefulness that beat only in a defiant heart.
I very much liked this book. There are many levels to this story. Mary - the mayor's daughter who doesn't agree with the way Jon is treated and is attracted to him - is one half of a sweet innocent love story that grows strong and wise beyond the couple's years and is sure to last a life time. The small town basketball coach, who allows and enables hostile treatment of Jon drew my ire. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Jon is forced to take a stand against him, through conditions set up by the coach, and it backfires on the despicable man who ends up getting his just desserts. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but I assure you that it will make you cheer. The relationship between John and his grandmother most intrigued me as I learned the circumstances behind her seeming indifference to the boy, and watched him earn her approval and gain her love. The things he goes through on a daily basis wrench my heart. He has a spirit than can not be squelched through racism, discrimination, bullying, violence, or even war. It is sure to endear him to every reader, as it did me. There is so much going on in this book, especially behind the scenes, that will keep you entertained and interested until everything is revealed. I strongly recommend it.
I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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