Age Group: Everyone
Genre: New Adult: Romance/Science-fiction
Release 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.
In the interest in full disclosure, the author sent me a copy of this book so I could read and review. While I liked this book, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed The Journey. The two books share the basic idea of exploring what would happen if one was able to go back in time.
The main character, Joel, winds up back in traveling back to the 1920’s, just a few weeks before World War II is set to begin. He struggles between warning his newfound friends (and family—he meets up with his grandmother, who is only 21 years old at the time) about the impending war and the dangers to come, and not wanting to change anything that might alter his future. His struggle is realistic; the first person he befriends in the new world is the man that his grandma is currently dating. The man who is NOT his grandfather. If he changes anything, there’s a real chance he’ll never exist at all.
But the real difficult part comes when he winds up falling in love with a young woman who’s friends with his grandmother, named Grace. When they meet, she’s engaged to another man, but she falls for Joel. While the two pursue a relationship together, Joel wonders if he’s being wise to get emotionally attached to a woman he was never supposed to know at all.
I had a difficult time categorizing this book, as it falls into multiple genres. It’s easily a historical romance, but also has elements of science fiction. The first part of the book moved a bit slowly for my taste, but about halfway through, Heldt picked up the pace and I found myself caught up in the story. The end has a nice twist to it that I didn’t see coming, so he definitely gets points for that. All in all, this was a good read, and I recommend it to anyone who has interest in historical romance novels.
John A. Heldt is a reference librarian who lives and works in Montana. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved reading and writing since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of both the University of Oregon and University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. Heldt is the author of THE MINE, THE JOURNEY, and THE SHOW, the first three novels of his Northwest Passage time-travel series.