Saturday, June 13, 2015

Book Review: The Journey by John A. Heldt

The Journey (Northwest Passage Book 2)
By John Heldt
Publisher: John A. Heldt
Published: Nov. 4, 2012

Amazon Synopsis:

Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979. 

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

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My Thoughts:

Recently widowed and visiting her hometown of Unionville, Oregon, Michelle Preston is stunned when she exits the small room of the abandoned mansion to discover it is no long 2010, but 1979 and she’s all alone. She decides to make the best of things since re-entering the room that caused the initial time travel didn’t work again.

Michelle works at solving the mystery of other people she has heard about who have disappeared that have lived at the abandoned mansion. She makes some intriguing discoveries and decides to help her younger self make some different choices in life.

This story drew me in right from the first page. I wanted to know how Michelle was going to pass herself off at 48 as someone from 30 years in the past with no identification, residence, or work history. In 1979 she had been in high school. She couldn’t even use her own name. This was a small town. People would’ve known something very strange was going on.

This was a sweet story about friendships and mentors, love and companionship. Obviously it is not something that could happen because one small change in history would change so many things in the future. However, it is a fascinating thing to think about “what if I had done this, instead of that? How would my life have turned out?”

I liked the personality of Michelle. She was very helpful and kind. It was not until Michelle saw her teenage sweetheart (that she eventually married) interacting with her teenage self clearly for who he was. There were some fun twists that even Michelle wasn’t aware of until she became privy to the secrets as confidant of most of the seniors at the high school.

I loved the way the author wove real historical events into the story. These events made the story seem much more realistic.

The twist at the end of the story was both sad and heartwarming. For some it will cause a few tears to fall. But there is joy too, so you’ll have to decide where to focus your attention. Not all stories have a perfect ending, but this one had a great one.

I heartily recommend this time travel romance novel. It was an excellent escape read. I rated it 5 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion is not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at

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