Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
To say Abby Thomas has had an interesting summer is a huge understatement. While tutoring eleven year old Merri in Miles Station, Illinois, they discover a unique computer program called Beautiful House that allows them to virtually time travel into the past. They have decided to keep the program a secret only telling John Roberts, a young man who Abby has become fond of, along with Kate Greenfield, Abby's best friend. When Kate decides to research her family tree, she hits a snag when she comes to a man named Ned Greenfield, who lived in a small town named Equality. Abby's best friend Kate Greenfield has been doing her families genealogy, but hits a snag when she comes to a man named Ned Greenfield. Kate comes to Miles Station along with her boyfriend Ryan hoping that Abby can use the program to help her figure out who Ned was. They uncover secrets from the past that not only shock them, but also allow Kate to see what kind of man Ryan really is!
"Every Hill and Mountain" takes the reader on an amazing journey into the past while keeping a firm foot in the present. I found the central characters Abby, Kate, John and Merri to be wonderful characters; 'good' and 'wholesome' are two words that pop into my head where they are concerned. Although Kate was pulled off track for a while by the end of the story she saw Ryan for what he really was. I found the concept of virtual time travel really lent another element to this story, but more than that, it made the historical elements seem so much more realistic. While I really enjoyed the characters it was the historical story that unfolded about Ned that really gripped me. As his story is told, it saddened my heart, causing me to shed a few tears. Ms. Heal certainly knew how to bring history to life within the pages of this story. I learned a few things I never really thought about, but was also left wanting to learn more. While she deals with the tough subject of slavery, she does it in a manner that allows us a clear, honest look at how things might have been. She also provided me with the hope of freedom that came for many. While this is book three of a series, I feel it could be read as a stand alone story. I did read the first book but missed the second one, but that didn't hinder me from understanding and enjoying this story fully. The author provides an ending that left me hoping that she might continue this series. Overall, a story perfect for teens and adults alike.Teens will connect with the characters in the story, and come away with a history lesson that is far from boring.