Tag Archives: John A. Heldt

The Show- John A. Heldt

Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Seattle, 1941. Grace Vandenberg, 21, is having a bad day. Minutes after Pearl Harbor is attacked, she learns that her boyfriend is a time traveler from 2000 who has abandoned her for a future he insists they cannot share. Determined to save their love, she follows him into the new century. But just when happiness is within her grasp, she accidentally enters a second time portal and exits in 1918. Distraught and heartbroken, Grace starts a new life in the age of Woodrow Wilson, silent movies, and the Spanish flu. She meets her parents as young, single adults and befriends a handsome, wounded Army captain just back from the war. In THE SHOW, the sequel to THE MINE, Grace finds love and friendship in the ashes of tragedy as she endures the trial of her life.


Sorry if this review is a little all over the place, I’ve had a migraine this weekend and my head is still a little fuzzy.

The Show is the third book in the Northwest Passage series. It continues where the first book in the series, The Mine, left off. I have not read the second book in the series, The Journey, but it follows a different storyline so it isn’t needed (in fact I’m not really sure why Heldt put a random non-joining story in the middle). You could probably even read The Show as an independent story, but I would recommend reading The Mine first.

When I first got the e-mail about a sequel to The Mine I was interested to see what happened with Grace and Joel next, and to see how Grace settled into modern life. However when I read the synopsis I was a little less sure. It seemed that Heldt was trying, unnecessarily to stretch the sci-fi element by making Grace time travel again. In a sense this was true, and I think I would have preferred a book which showed how Grace got used to the new millennium. Having said that there was a certain element of this too the story, and once I got into the story after she had time travelled it didn’t really matter to me whether it was too much of a stretch or not.

When reading The Mine I had preferred Grace to Joel and it was nice to have a story which was more from her perspective. Also because I already knew Grace from reading The Mine I cared a bit more about her. Her emotions once she lost Joel again were quite well built, and I could imagine myself acting in a similar way, however I think she got over the loss and moved on a little too quickly. It was again a sense of Heldt pushing a story in a direction which didn’t seem quite natural. Whilst I did enjoy the plot in terms of a story in it’s own right, I didn’t really like it as it related to The Mine.

There was one this in particular that bugged me about this book. It was only a little moment, not even an important one, but it really bugged me. Especially as it’s partly billed as a historical novel. In the book two girls move from England to America. They talk about how happy they are to move to the US because it’s so much more liberated than England. As a Briton that grated at me, but I was ready to overlook it. But then they started talking about how women could vote here, but not in England. Which made me think, wait a sec…didn’t votes for women exist in the UK before the US? Which yes they did, in fact at the time that the book is based women couldn’t vote in most of America.


Buy it:

Kindle (£1.97)

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, Historical, Sci-Fi

The Mine- John A. Heldt

Image from Amazon

Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from Amazon)

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.


I must admit when I approached this book I was a little sceptical. I was interested in the history element, and I liked the idea of seeing history being lived through modern eyes. However I was a little worried about the sci-fi element. Sure it was needed for the story to really work, but I’m not really a reader of sci-fi (the closest I’ve got I think is The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and I was worried that there would be to much focus on the mine itself and not enough on the history.

Luckily I didn’t need to be worried. The sci-fi element was quite intriguing in its way, although I couldn’t wait for the ‘real’ story to start. Using Joel’s voice to tell the story was quite clever because it meant we could imagine how we might react in a similar situation (should one ever arise!). It worked well for the history element as well because it meant we could know what would happen through Joel reflecting on what he knew, but we could also see events unfolding.

I did end up liking Joel quite a lot. I think his experiences really changed him. At first he was rather cocky, and maybe a little selfish, but by the end he seemed much more thoughtful and empathic. I liked how he used his knowledge of the future without it having any giant impact on the past while still having an effect on those he met.

I was actually surprised about how emotional the book made me when certain events started to unfold.

There were a few things I disliked however. I found it took a little to long for the story to get going, and I didn’t really like the end (although to say why may be a little spoilerish). The cover isn’t great either, it gives a kind of boring representation of the book.


Buy it:

Kindle (£1.92)

Other reviews:

Teena in Toronto


Filed under Fiction review, Historical, Sci-Fi