The Mine (Northwest Passage), by talented Indie Author John A. Heldt, is a sassy time-travel book that is much less about the travel than it is about the time. It’s a detailed portrait of pre-war 1941, moving and intricate.
The main character, Joel, is easy to like… which makes him hard to love. So when he finds himself trapped in 1941, trying to befriend his then-young grandmother and woo her engaged best friend and roommate Grace, he is quickly overwhelmed.
Seeing cocky people do cocky things is boring. That’s why the newest James Bond movie, in which the Cockiest Man Of All is brought to his knees, is the best one so far. Seeing Joel question everything he thought he knew about himself as he struggles to win the love and approval of two very different women, stuck in a history that he is afraid to change, is enthralling.
As Joel tries to prove himself to the two-newly-most-important people in his life, he proves himself to the reader, too. I was rooting for him so hard it almost hurt.
Well, not literally. But still.
Despite the seemingly placid story line, I could not put this book down (with the exception of the death of a character, at which point I had to put the book down in order to cry). While Joel tries to find his place in an old New World, Pearl Harbour and the second world war are hanging over his head. Every day that passes brings the harsh reality of rations and conscription closer to the almost idyllic friendships that Joel develops.
There is also the threat that Joel will change things – and maybe for the worst. Could he accidentally prevent his own birth, just by being friends with his own grandmother? Could he ruin someone’s life by having a role in a time that isn’t his own?
It’s these questions about fate and responsibility that lead Joel to change who he is… and change history, whether he wants to or not.
Thank you, John A Heldt, for an awesome read!