I haven’t read the story about Shiloh in a long time. My memories of Shiloh are emotional ones. I remember that his journey began with an owner who did not properly take care of him and a there was a boy who yearned for him. This boy lied, he fought and he did everything he could to give Shiloh the home he deserved and in the end, he won. Shiloh was now his dog and what a happy ending it was. When I saw this novel at the library, it brought back memories and I wanted to relive my Shiloh years. After reading this novel, I have mixed feeling about it. It ended on a happy note as I hoped it would but the story wasn’t centered on Shiloh like I wanted it to be. The story was more about the community and family which he was now a part of. Shiloh had a few important roles but the story centered on the drama of the community, a big disappointment for me. It was a good story nonetheless but not how I expected.
The big news in the town is the new preacher. His words from the pulpit confuse his congregation and leave them wondering exactly what his message meant for them. Sermons of sins, blasphemy and punishment all negative aspects of the world have his assembly shaking their heads in confusion. His inability to smile, have some individuals already casting their votes on whether they accept him or not. His daughter Rachel is in Marty’s class and Marty has drawn her name as the person he has to do a report on. Marty has uncovered some information about Rachel and the preacher’s family that burdens him. He wants to share this information but is afraid of what the consequences might bring. Judd (Shiloh’s previous owner) is starting to change, taking responsibility for the remaining dogs in his possession. When a fire breaks and consumes some of the forest and neighboring homes, Judd is homeless and his dogs are running free. People are slow to change their opinions of him and this fire divides the community. Shiloh steps in and helps bring closure to part of the story. The story ends on a high note, things seem to work themselves out and I was smiling as I turned the final page.