Skip to main content

The Mine: Northwest Passage Book 1 by John A. Heldt

historical fiction, time travel, John A. Heldt, book review, Northwest Passage, On My Kindle

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; Joel 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 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 and a roof over his head living in a trailer on the family's property.

Tom wastes no time in introducing Joel to his circle of friends; which includes Joel's trailblazing grandmother and her friends. Joel realizes that Tom is his grandmother's first love, and that their relationship is doomed to end abruptly when Tom dies at the beginning of World War II. Joel wants to use his knowledge of future events to prevent Tom's death, but is unsure of the consequences if he finds a way to prevent Tom from being drafted. To make matters even more interesting, Joel falls in love with one of his grandmother's friends, Grace. As their relationship grows, Joel finds it more difficult to make the decision to return to his time.

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?

historical fiction, time travel, John A. Heldt, book review, Northwest Passage, On My Kindle

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 flawlessly re-create a historically accurate pre-war setting, but that he also managed to effortlessly create historically accurate protagonists.

While some reviewers find fault with the sexist views expressed by the protagonists, even though the women's rights movement in the 1940s did not really pick up momentum until during the war; I found that these insights added to the story's realism. 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.

Available on iTunes

At first glance, readers might think that the book runs on in parts and be tempted to skip over them; however, if readers choose not to skip over those parts, they will discover that they gain even more insight as to why the characters react to and behave in certain situations and find themselves drawn further into the story.

Get it on Amazon, eBook, audiobook

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 a time when who a girl was in love with was everybody's business. It is touching with a nostalgic air of romance, but not too sappy for male audiences.
Photo courtesy of

To find out more about John A. Heldt, the Northwest Passage series, and his other publications; visit John's blog on which he shares interviews, reviews of his books, awards for his books, and posts his thoughts on several topics that interest him.

If you would like to connect with John and readers that enjoy his books on social media, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.