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Defiant Heart

Defiant Heart

4.8 8
by Marty Steere

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Two extraordinary characters. One unforgettable love story.

In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer's family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town. He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned.

Mary Dahlgren is the mayor's daughter. A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including


Two extraordinary characters. One unforgettable love story.

In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer's family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town. He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned.

Mary Dahlgren is the mayor's daughter. A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including Vernon King, the star of the vaunted high school basketball team. To the chagrin of her friends, though, Mary has always been more interested in books than boys. That is, until she meets Jon.

But Jon and Mary are kept apart through the efforts of Mary's father, who perceives their relationship a threat to his political aspirations, and Vernon, to whom Jon is a rival for Mary's affections. For months Jon is subjected to a painful ostracism. Then, just when the young man's earnestness and perseverance begin to win over many of the townsfolk and it appears that love may conquer all, tragedy strikes.

As the country is caught up in war, so too are the young lovers swept up in events beyond their control, leaving both fighting for their very lives. If, against the odds, they are to be together, each will need to find the strength, the courage and the resourcefulness that beat only in a defiant heart.

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Penfield Publications
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994 KB

Meet the Author

The son of a career air force officer, Marty Steere grew up on or near military installations across the country and overseas before settling in Southern California, where, when he’s not writing, he practices law. His first novel, Sea of Crises, was selected as Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012.

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Defiant Heart 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
rockygirl1 More than 1 year ago
I have to say I didn’t start out excited to read this one. Historical type romances aren’t necessarily my favorite. I am glad to say I was mistaken! From the moment I actually made myself sit down and start reading about Jon and Mary until the last page, well, I was completely hooked into this story. Steere has an amazing writing style.  I would probably argue that the synopsis doesn’t do this book justice and not to go by what it says, because the book itself is about so much more. Jon arrives in town after loosing his parents and beloved older brother to find a grandmother who can’t get over the fact that his father ‘stole’ her daughter from her.  He soon finds himself ostracized from most of the town because of his religion. It never ceases to amaze me that something as simple as what you believe or the color of your skin can make you a target, especially in a small town.  This book was amazing.  The relationships that Jon forms, both with Mary and Ben, a pilot in the town, are deep and help him to begin to heal.  Tragedy, however, waits and Jon seems to be a big part of what is happening in this town.  The characters are deep and moved me a lot, more than I thought they would. A few years ago I was on a mission trip with my youth and went to a small town in the Midwest where race had played a huge roll in the town. To this day the town is still severely divided. I couldn’t help but think  of this town when I was reading this book and how much those tensions hurt that town, and the families in that town, and are still dividing that town. I was asked to review this book by the author, and as I mentioned above, I really wasn’t sure how I would feel about it.  Imagine my surprise when instead or writing a review about NOT liking the book, I’m writing about how amazing the book really was?!
dreamer2229 More than 1 year ago
I laughed at times, I cried at times, a profoundly moving book about life during WWII and how one Jewish boy survived both living in America and fighting in the war. And how he found love and acceptance along the way. I think I cried hardest when I read about how badly he was treated at home, and not just by the children. I have never wanted to slap another adult quite as bad as I wanted to slap a couple in this book. Well written and deeply moving, I found this story to be far more than the “standard war tale” I was expecting and more a story of the triumph of life and love. I give this story 4.5 out of 5 clouds. This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.
BookwormBrandee More than 1 year ago
Oh boy! I will begin my review with a tissue alert. You will be needing tissues while reading this book. :)  Defiant Heart is emotional, gripping, poignant, appalling, and absolutely lovely. I love historical fiction, especially well researched, well written historical fiction. Defiant Heart certainly fulfilled all my expectations and then some! The novel tells the story of Jonathan Meyer, a young man who endures all matter of tragedies and injustices, and yet courageously perserveres through it all. And in the end becomes a stronger man that any parent, grandparent, or friend would be proud of. It's not only a tale of war though. It's also a tale of love that will make you believe that love does conquer all.  Defiant Heart deals with themes such as social injustice, love, and forgiveness. It is set against the backdrop of WWII and we are witness to the atrocities of prejudice committed in our own country. We also experience the war through the eyes and actions of our hero, Jon. I am extremely impressed with the historical accuracy and feel of the detail of the war. There are wonderfully wrought supporting characters without whom Jon's story wouldn't have been so affecting. Jon's grandmother, for instance, who learns to let go of the past and love her grandson. Jon's friends, Walt, who was Jon's first friend in Jackson, and Ben, who taught Jon to fly are integral to the story. Jon's flight crew members are brilliantly drawn. And, of course, there's Mary, Jon's sweetheart. The intense bond between the two set them on a course to overcome any obstacle to be together. In fact, Jon says states at one point, "Nothing is going to keep us apart." And although many forces conspire against them, both Jon and Mary defiantly stand against them. There is so much detail woven throughout this novel. The trauma Jon suffers that brings him to Jackson. The persecution he endures at the hands of so many. Mr. Steere effectively paces the action throughout the novel. The story he tells so compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately heartwarming. Yes, I do indeed love a well crafted piece of historical fiction. Defiant Heart is exactly that!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Patricia Althoff for Readers' Favorite In "Defiant Heart" Marty Steere places a newly orphaned teenage boy from Manhattan, Jon Meyer, in the isolated midwestern town of Jackson, Indiana, population 300. His 80-year-old grandmother, Marvella Wilson, is his only remaining relative, so she is obliged to take him in, although they have never met. (It seems the early 1900s following World War I was not the time for her daughter to have married a Jewish man.) While Jon and his grandmother gradually build a relationship, Jon's intelligence and aptitude for "just about anything" initially endears him to the community. Once school begins, the Basketball Team and coach begin a rampage of harassment, which escalates when it is discovered Jon is Jewish. Meanwhile, Mary Dahlgren and Jon begin a complicated friendship destined to be more, thus the title, "Defiant Heart". A series of events centered around the beginning of World War II add intrigue and suspense form the story of this well-written book. I recommend that you begin to read this book early in the day, as you will not want to put it down until it is finished. Steere endears the primary characters as skillfully as he inspires intense dislike toward the antagonists, and you will find yourself wanting to jump into the story and assist the action. Steere's historical setting (just as World War II is about to draw the United States into the action) makes the interaction among the townspeople believable, and conversely, the story helps the reader understand more about the time period in which it was set. A recommended read for middle school through adult.
kbaby920 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. While I sometimes feel historical fiction can be a hit or miss for me, this somehow captured both sides of a complex storyline, both historical and romantic, that kept my rapt attention. From the minute I was presented with the first page I was enthralled. I felt like Marty gave me more than enough insight into the characters: Mary & Jon, how they came to have such a forbidden love, and the strong efforts they put forth to keep their love strong through the ever deceitful natures of the people trying to keep them apart. I fell so deeply in love with this story it took merely a few hours to complete. It wasn’t hard to grasp any concepts because Marty kept the reader on an elegantly scripted flow, it wasn’t too convoluted or hard for me to grasp. I felt like the storyline, plot and characters were so in sync there could be no misguidance. This is definitely a good read.
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by saying that it takes a special book to make me lose all track of time, and this is one of those books. As a book reviewer, I sometimes find myself spending too much time figuring out how much more I have to read to finish the book. I didn't find myself doing that very often with this book. Sometimes a chapter ended, and I barely noticed. I was thoroughly engaged with this book at almost every turn, and I found myself thinking more than once that this was the way a historical novel should be written. Let's get this out of the way. There is some profanity, but until it got closer to the end, it was so minimal I barely noticed. And the bit towards the end could have been much worse than it was because it took place in the army. There were no sex scenes. In fact, the main characters actually remained pure--go figure. I learned something during the reading of this book, and I always feel that those are the best kinds of historical fiction. I have heard of Japanese and African American prejudice during WWII. I honestly did not know about anti-Semitism, and I was absolutely horrified! Wasn't it bad enough that Hitler was killing the Jews? The injustice they suffered in this country was pretty horrendous. I loved the little bits of mystery the author inserted into the story. I also loved the romance. And justice was accomplished. You can't know how much that means to me. I have read my share of books where that did not happen! Sometimes I was not as drawn into the war descriptions, but that is a part of the author's world.  So if you like historical fiction, romance, and even a tad bit of mystery, this just might be the book for you. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am always asleep by11 p.m. but it is 2a.m. and I just finished this gripping story. I wanted to really hurt those basketball players and Mary's dad. I would have liked to know how much punishment Vernon & Jeff got and how Mary's dad reacted to Jon returning a war hero. I will read more by this writer. GJRA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago