The Mine: Northwest Passage 1 (Unabridged)
by John A. Heldt
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In May 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.
Touching with a nostalgic air of romance
Joel is a cocky college senior who has almost earned his geology degree. On a weekend trip with the guys, he decides to explore an abandoned mine in Montana; during his exploration, he observes an anomalous formation. When he returns to the surface to share his find with his friends, he makes a surprising discovery; he entered the mine in May 2000, but exits the mine in May 1941.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Stranded in the past with very little cash and credit cards that he cannot use; he makes an impulsive decision to grab a ride on a boxcar and make his way to Seattle. Having learned how to survive as a hobo from the others he rode with, Joel uses those skills to survive while he figures out how he is going to make a living in pre-WWII Seattle. When Joel witnesses a group of men beating up a young man, he decides to intervene and sends the bullies on their way. The young man, Tom, shows Joel his gratitude by taking him home with him so that Joel can get cleaned up, eat a home-cooked meal, and get a decent night's rest in a real bed. Tom's family is intrigued and impressed by the mysterious stranger that saved Tom, and Joel soon finds himself with a steady job at the family's furniture store, a roof over his head living in a trailer on the family's property, and a circle of friends; which includes Joel's grandmother. Joel realizes that Tom must be his grandmother's first love, and that Tom will die at the beginning of World War II.
As Joel grapples with the implications of saving his new friend's life, he finds himself falling in love with his grandmother's friend, Grace. As his relationship with Grace grows, Joel finds himself contemplating staying in the past. Can Joel find a way to prevent Tom from being drafted? Will Joel return to his time, or will he choose to stay in the past with Grace?
When I first started reading The Mine by John A. Heldt, I was skeptical because it started out a little slow and seemed like other time travel stories that I have read before; without the protagonist's desperate, futile, and illogical attempts to return back to his own time. I was pleasantly surprised as I continued reading to find that Heldt not only managed to re-create a historically accurate pre-war setting, but that he also managed to effortlessly create historically accurate protagonists. I was impressed by how Heldt created a protagonist, Joel, who used common sense and logic to consider the ramifications of his actions and still made the occasional mistake.
The Mine: Northwest Passage Book 1 by John A. Heldt is a brilliant and flawlessly executed glimpse into a time when the government drafted during peacetime, the women's rights movement was starting to gain momentum, and when who a girl was in love with was everybody's business. It is touching with nostalgic air of romance, but without being too sappy for male audiences.