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Class of '59 (American Journey Book 4) by John A. Heldt

Class of '59, American Journey, John A. Heldt, book review, On My Kindle Book Reviews

Source: I received a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Time Travel
Format: eBook
Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Back Cover

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.

Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.


Mary Beth McIntyre and Mark Ryan are in the same house but in different times. As Mary Beth prepares for another dismal day of vacation in 2017, Mark discovers a letter written by the mansion's owner provides instructions on how to travel through time. Having nothing better to do with his time, Mark decides to travel from his time, 1959, to the future.

After a brief, experimental jaunt into the future, Mark decides to make a second trip and spend more time in 2017. This second trip is not as uneventful as the first; he is caught by Mary Beth who is waiting for him when he returns to the house to return to his time. The two decide to let Mary Beth's sister and Mark's brother in on the secret, and the sisters decide to kick their vacation into high gear by visiting the 1950's.

This was a really fun read! The sisters have quite an adventure in 1959 since Mary Beth's sister, a recent high school graduate, decides that she wants to experience the 50's as a high school senior; complete with poodle skirts, dances, drive-in theaters, and makeout sessions!

Heldt did a great job with all of the characters; they are developed and credible. The colloquialisms used in the dialogue actually match the setting and the issues that the sisters struggled with seemed appropriate for the time. Heldt gives readers enough details about the setting to transport the readers back to 1959 while maintaining a decent pace to keep readers from becoming bored. I particularly liked the run-in that the characters had with the mob; it seemed appropriate to the time period and it added some tension and adventure to what might have been a saccharine plot.

I do not know if this is my favorite book in the series; however, I really enjoyed reading it. Heldt has deviated from his typical history-packed and serious style, and we get to see his lighter side.

If you enjoy time travel romances that are playful and sweet with some adventure, I think that you will enjoy Class of '59!

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About John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt, author, Class of '59, American Journey, 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

Have you read any of the books in his American Journey Series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.