This is a love story that cuts into the wilderness of the heart.

The Tracking Heart - The Forest

The Tracking Heart by Melissa Croghan

Newton Denman, a compassionate man raised in a family of hunters, is hiding out in the Alleghenies when he spots Callie Major swimming in a mountain pool. They have not spoken since they were childhood sweethearts, twenty years ago in Littlecomb, Pennsylvania.


Callie, half-Irish and half-Seneca, is a forest ranger who is somewhat absentminded and given to a state of what she terms as near hibernation. Though she is loath to trust Newton after the incident that drove them apart when they were young, the two are drawn to one another. Newton, however, does not know that Callie is protecting a mysterious, goliath bear in the forest or that she is guarding another highly personal secret. As for Callie, she has no idea that Newton is hunting this same black bear who is legend in the area, or that he is on the run from a charge of murder in their hometown.

When Callie does find out about the manhunt, she, as a park ranger, becomes involved and events conspire in such a way that she must decide who to save: herself, the bear, or the man she loves.


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Set in the mountain forests of the Alleghenies, The Tracking Heart is the story of Callie and Newton who are falling in love but happen to be in a race to find the same goliath bear. Their motives are different: hers is to protect this mysterious, supernatural animal, and his is to kill it.

This novel builds to a powerful conclusion, with tense bear and manhunts in ‘Great Meadow’ on the mountain, at the end of the book. It looks as if the bear is shot, but is it really dead? Who is really tracking who? It may be that the terrifying and beautiful spirit bear is tracking both Callie and Newton.

From Chapter One: There was no moon on the rise, no horizon line. The sky had turned a clotted white. Callie found herself a seat in a v-wedge of branches, and was scanning the woods as if someone might appear any second. She had a good lookout.