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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Shadows of Sawtooth Ridge by Bernie McAuley is a compelling family drama that immerses you from the first pages. The plot centers around the main character, Larry, a Vietnam War POW coming home to the family ranch in Montana. But things never stay the same, as he finds out when he arrives back. Now he's a single dad of two children, Jonnie and Mark. He was raised on a family ranch years ago, but it's now about to be sold, and he may lose his career as an airline pilot because of his repetitive nightmares. Then a rodeo member-turned reporter from his past named Dakota re-enters his life. In the early days, everyone wanted her but him: he had other things on his mind besides rodeo. But now? Could there be a chance for the two of them?
This book starts in a powerful place. A POW coming home, relating some of his feelings and memories of being a prisoner. But his homecoming isn't as pleasant as he had hoped. The bad news of a recent death awaits him, and he's plunged deeper into darkness. I like how the author relays the everyday happenings of ordinary people and the extraordinary challenges they face. The characters are interesting and realistic, and the plot is intriguing. Even though there are some tough parts in the book, it isn't all doom and gloom. You'll meet fascinating characters like Bing, and you'll come to respect that the main character doesn't consider being a POW heroic. You also get a flavor of the times he describes: humankind walking on the moon, race riots, gas shortages, and Watergate. And the descriptions of Larry getting help for his PTSD are compassionate and informative. The accompanying images are an added bonus, and one of my favorite parts is when Larry plays the piano again. The Shadows of Sawtooth Ridge by Bernie McAuley is an engrossing story that fans of Hallmark movies will enjoy, and I would certainly recommend it.