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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Review: The Mine by John A. Heldt

This is a marvelously warm and completely engaging story.

The Mine (Northwest Passage)
by John Heldt

  • File Size: 538 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: John A. Heldt (February 12, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078S9B6G
Genre: Time Travel, Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: February 12, 2012
In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Joel Smith is an adventurous college student in 2000 who detours to explore an abandoned mine. He finds a cave with a luminous glow and when he stumbles away from a rattlesnake, bumping his head, he walks out into a setting that is the not quite the same as he left.  Upon realizing the next day that he is in the year 1941, he believes he has missed the chance to return to his own time.

As Joel tries to adjust to a world of the past, he finds a group of friends who welcome him into their circle.  This group includes Joel’s own bright and innovative grandmother, Ginny.  But the most crucial and difficult thing is that Joel falls in love with Ginny’s best friend, Grace.

Grace is beautiful, smart and dedicated. She is a missionaries’ daughter raised in secluded towns and villages.  Grace has lived with her Aunt after the tragic death of her parents and it has taken several years for Grace to overcome her fear, trauma and shyness. She has recently become engaged to Paul who is on his way to Boston to train as a cadet.  Grace has everything nicely planned out for her future, but there is something that pulls her to the mysterious, mischievous Joel.

The story follows Joel as he creates a life in 1941 with no cell phones, no computers and no Television! These are simpler times when a family eats at the dining table rather than in front of the television. But Joel knows that his young friends are facing World War II and some of them may not survive. Does he have the right to engage the affections of another man’s fiancé? Will any of Joel’s actions impact the future, including his own birth?  Although there are difficulties in his situation, Joel loves Grace and he is beginning to plan out a future in 1941 when he discovers a chance to return to 2000. Should he return to his own time without the woman he loves? Should he stay in 1941 with Grace? Should he try to take her back to the future with him? What would you do?

This is a romance set in gentler, simpler times in 1941 before war encroached on Americans. Mr. Heldt’s writing is straight forward, smooth and with a light sense of humor. It fits the tone and setting perfectly.  The characters are diverse and although not overly in depth, there is sufficient substance to make them real to me. The friendships and the romance are an engaging story and the time travel  paradox creates an extra layer of interest.

This did make me think of Back to the Future and Blast From the Past movies with their suburban households, family togetherness and swing dancing.  The similarities are in the gentle tones of the time period not in the plots as each has its own unique focus. I want to recommend that readers who enjoy a warm old-fashioned romance give this story a read. I think you will enjoy it as I did.

Note thoughts:
               Wow, nostalgic, warm, cozy, touching, paradox.


Joel’s reactions when he finds himself in a strange time:
Joel thought about Marty McFly, the likelihood that this was all a nightmare, and turning that rattlesnake into sushi. Location 549.
He peered down the street in both directions and decided to head south, toward the downtown core. He entered his strange, new world with angst, disbelief, and wonder. Location 574.
Thank you to the author who provided this title for an honest review. This might not have been a title I would have picked up if the author had not emailed me and been persistent, for which I am glad. (With all the emails I get sometimes I mark a request and move it to a folder but don’t get to reply. Mr. Heldt’s third email finally got a reply from me.)
This is set in Seattle for my Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add it to my ARC and New Author challenge lists.


  1. I love time travel stories, I'll have to look into this one - I just prefer to avoid depressing stories so I'm glad you said this one has a bit of humor and sweetness to it.


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