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The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles 2) by John A. Heldt

Book review of THE MEMORY TREE, a historical fiction novel, by John A. Heldt.
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.
Source: I received a free copy of this book and opted to post a review.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Romance
Pub. Date: April 30, 2018
Series: Carson Chronicles

Visit John A. Heldt's website to learn more about THE MEMORY TREE


After their narrow escape from 1889, the siblings continue the search for their parents in 1918. Adam and Bridget decide to settle down in Minnesota while the rest of the siblings split up to follow their dreams, re-kindle old friendships, and meet their ancestors.

The Memory Tree was an adventurous and emotional escape from my daily grind!

If you've read my reviews of Heldt's other books, then you already know that I think he's a master at world-building and character development; however, it doesn't hurt to tell you again. The characters are incredibly realistic with rich personalities and interesting backstories, and the setting is rendered in beautiful, exacting detail. It's apparent that Heldt does his research as it seems that he is well-acquainted with the different settings and the era.

The plot itself is very complex as it follows all of the siblings to different corners of the United States and the world. Heldt doesn't linger too long on one particular character or region; this made it more difficult for me to put the book down and, even though the perspective changes to a different sibling quickly, I didn't have any issues with keeping all of the different perspectives straight. I particularly enjoyed following Natalie's adventures as she managed to snag a sweet job at a local newspaper and go over to France and interview soldiers who were on the front lines during WWI. In truth, she's one of my favorite siblings because she is so resilient and independent.

I was a bit frustrated with the ending. The plight that the parents faced at the end of the book was totally avoidable with a bit of planning and forethought. It seemed completely out of character that not a single one of the Carsons didn't think to implement one or more plans that would've resolved the situation.

My subjective frustration aside, I thought The Memory Tree was a great read overall. I'm happy to recommend this to readers who enjoy novels like The Time Traveler's Wife, The Notebook, or Love and Gravity.

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Find the Carson Chronicles!

Carson Chronicles series by John A. Heldt is available on Amazon

About John A. Heldt

Image of John A. Heldt, author of THE MEMORY TREE, courtesy of Goodreads
John A. Heldt, author. Courtesy of Goodreads.
John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage, American Journey, and Carson Chronicles series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at