When I picked this up, I didn't know it was the second book of A Gathering of Days. . ." but that is okay because they are more of companion books - each one stands on its own.
Published in 1985, Brothers of the Heart has a Lexile measure of 830L. This tells the story of Shem Perkins, a boy born with a crippled leg. He wants to work and feel like he is contributing, but some people won't give him the chance to prove himself.
I enjoyed Brothers of the Heart. Shem had a drive to succeed even though he had a bad leg. Because Blos started the story at Shem's 50 year anniversary to Margaret, I knew he wouldn't die and that he would marry Margaret. This spoiled the suspense for me, but also makes it a safe read for those who get anxiety when characters are in jeopardy.
The format of this story is a bit unusual because parts of the story are told using letters, but it works.
The story takes place from 1837 to 1838. When Shem runs away, I felt so badly for his mom. His adventure helps him grow, learn, and become stronger than he would have if he'd stayed home, but as a mom, I couldn't stand how sick she was with worry. He earned respect from many for what he did while he was gone. I loved Mary Goodhue. She was brave, strong, smart, and faithful. Shem appreciated her and they became good friends.
If you like pioneer stories, you will like this book.
Read to a child today even if that child is you!