Book Review: Heart of a Hero by Billi Tiner

This middle-grade/children’s book was available free as part of my Amazon Prime lending library, so I thought I’d give it a try. The theme also resonates with me: brave dogs changing humans’ lives for the better.

The story follows Lady, an Irish Setter who is eventually “recruited” into the armed forces to act as a messenger dog during the War. The story follows Lady from puppyhood—eagerly listening to stories of her mother hunting, to finding her “person”—who then decides to enlist in the military, to being recruited herself, to getting injured during the war, to coming home and switching owners.

That’s a lot of plot happening—and in not that many pages. It’s a nice story in that it provides an overview of the life of a dog and emphasizes the bravery and selflessness of canines. I wish it had slowed down a bit, added more “showing” instead of “telling” in order to let the reader experience more of the emotions. As a dog lover myself, I was relying on my experiences with dogs to fill in the gaps. I’m not sure how a non-dog-lover would react. Longer, more fleshed-out chapters would have also allowed a deeper point of view. Sometimes the book switched points of view quickly, and within the same scene. I wanted more time to dwell within one of the characters’ heads, whether it was a human or a dog.

Still, it was an uplifting read and a good book (for a grownup) to read in one sitting, or a good book to introduce children to dogs and the ways they can be heroes. The theme of the war was a little dark, but it is a reality, even today.

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