…or two.

The first book, THE WAYFINDER, was published in 2000 and a new edition came out last month (June, 2019) with a fantastic new cover. The second story, THE FALCONER, releases this month. A Heartland Tale is not a series in the traditional sense with an ending cliffhanger leading you into the next adventure. Instead we have two different stories—young Winchal Eldras is our protagonist in book one and his granddaughter, Britt, takes control in book two.

Here’s what to expect:

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 1.42.20 PM.pngA great loss has frozen Win’s heart.
He cares for nothing.

But a plague is spreading like wildfire across the Heartland.

Win must use his Wayfinding skills to descend into the great Rift, for beyond it lies the Well of Life. Only its waters will heal the plague.

The Heartland depends on him. Can he put his loss behind him and fight for the Heartland?


MY THOUGHTS: The Heartland is the  setting for this magical fantasy. Short chapters almost always end with a page turning scene. Our likeable hero, Win, is a Wayfinder. He can find almost anything whether it be a person, place, or thing. An internal force leads him in the right direction. But one unfortunate miscue has him doubting his bravery and abilities. He’s chosen for a trip into the Rift to hopefully save his homeland. The journey is perilous and he is joined by Lady Kala, a dog who is devoted to the Prince. The canine is not an easy one to travel with.

Wolves, crocodiles, and some other unworldly creatures add increased tension to the exhausting journey. The ending wraps up all the plot points in marvelous fashion. A big recommend for a summertime read. One could also use the story to read out loud in the classroom or at home. Find this book and you’ll be transported to a new world with an unforgettable Wayfinder.

Here’s a peek at book 2:

Britt’s only goal is to become a falconer.Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 1.40.59 PM.png

She steals a gyrfalcon egg in hopes of raising a chick.

But the fierce Zendi, who’ve conquered the Heartland, appear on her doorstep.

She’s pulled into their conflict.

Their prophecies warn of a Wayfinder and a Bell.

She’s just an apprentice Wayfinder.

But she’s the only one who has a Finding for the missing Bell.

Can Britt and her falcon journey together across the Heartland, Find the Bell and save her people?

This is the story of a falconer, a courageous girl who strides out of the north country and into legend.

MY THOUGHTS: A much slower pace is not a problem here as everything leads Britt, the  thirteen year old heroine, to a climatic finish. Despite some misgivings, Britt comes to realize she’ll have to take things into her own hands. She might lose everything including her life.

The world building is laid out in an engaging fashion. Britt’s internalization of her surroundings and predicament makes for fine story telling. The third person point of view stays close to Britt the entire way. It’s also nice to have female protagonist in our male dominated fantasy world.

Britt’s love of animals goes beyond the respect she shows for her beloved gyrfalcon, Tatty Mog. A connection is also made to Ravens and a grumpy pack mule named Stubborn. She and her falcon must also hunt wild animals, but she does so to survive.

As in book one, a map of the Heartland is displayed on two pages before the chapters begin. It’s a nice way to visualize where the tale will take place. I’m not sure if we’ll see another Heartland Tale, but I’m hoping another generation of this family springs forth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Published in nine languages, children’s book author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison has been published with Harcourt, Philomel/Penguin, Harpercollins, Arbordale, and Mims House. Her books received recognition for excellence with starred reviews in Kirkus, BCCB and PW. Twice her books have been honored as National Science Teacher’s Association Outstanding Science Trade books. The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt) received an Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature Honor Book award, was named a Notable Book in Language Arts, and has been reprinted in a Houghton Mifflin textbook.


Coming up next Monday is another MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)

You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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4 Responses to A HEARTLAND TALE…

  1. These sound like books the fantasy lovers will love. That’s not me, but it might be my grandkids. Thanks for the review.

  2. Denise Valhara says:

    These sound great. Thanks for featuring them. I’ll be tracking down copies for my twins.

  3. Fascinating that the books are 19 years a part. The second story featuring Britt must have been germinating in the author’s mind for years. I like some fantasy, and both books sound like interesting reading. Enjoyed your reviews.

  4. Pingback: MMGM for July 8. 2019 | Always in the Middle…

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