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The Journey (Northwest Passage, Book 2) by John A. Heldt

Friday, September 2, 2016
The Journey, Northwest Passage Series, John A. Heldt, historical fiction, book review, On My Kindle Book Reviews

Source: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Format: eBook
Publication Date: November 4, 2012

Back Cover

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.

Review

After her husband's death, Michelle Richardson finds herself contemplating about what her life might have been like if she had taken a different path, rather than marrying her high school sweetheart. In an effort to reconnect with her past and renew her love of life, she returns to Unionville to attend her high school class reunion.

On a whim, she and three of her friends decide to visit an abandoned mansion. Wandering away from the group, she stumbles across a portal that whisks her back to 1979. Alone and with no idea of how she managed to travel back to the past, Michelle decides to find a job at Unionville High while she figures out how to get back to 2010. This new job presents her with a unique opportunity that many people wish they had; the chance to speak to her younger self and alter her future path.

The premise of the book piqued my interest immediately; Michelle has the opportunity to use her life's experience to change her younger self's path. I expected Heldt to follow a predictable path on which Michelle would spend most of the book grappling with the decision of whether or not to influence her former self. I was pleasantly surprised when it became apparent that Michelle quickly decided to advise her younger self to follow a different path, and the decision was made without the hemming and hawing about creating some sort of universe-altering paradox that one might expect from time travel novels.

Since there is little to no discussion about paradoxes, Heldt is able to focus on character and setting development; which he does brilliantly and effortlessly. I could imagine myself in the small town of Unionsville where everybody knows each other; complete with clean air, nosy neighbors, and clean-cut high schoolers. Michelle is a down-to-earth and practical woman with a romantic side who manages to empathize and relate to her younger self in a way that other adults cannot. I found myself hoping that she found happiness in her new lease on life and that she would not find a way to return to 2010.

As with Heldt's other books, the romance was clean and realistic; no sickly sweet, fairytale-style romance in this book! The ending was bittersweet and unexpected, and I thought that it was appropriate for the plot.

Readers who enjoy time travel romance novels like The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks will find The Journey an enjoyable, touching, and easy read. For those who enjoy historical fiction, but find that most time travel romances are too sticky-sweet for their tastes, Heldt provides a wonderful alternative in this novel.

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About John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt, author, On My Kindle Book Reviews.
John A. Heldt, author. Photo courtesy of Goodreads.
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 johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Have you read The Journey or another book by John A. Heldt? If so, let me know what you think of his writing in the comments.

Enjoy!