The Mine by John A. Heldt
The Mine by John A. Heldt, follows main character Joel Smith, a young, attractive man that’s about to graduate college, when he and his friend Adam, visit an abandoned mine during one last road trip before graduation. As a student majoring in geology and minoring in history, Joel crawls through the mine, and is transported back in time to May of 1941, thanks to a planetary alignment. He meets a bunch of new friends, and quickly adjusts to life in the 40’s. But Joel struggles with both personal, ethical and moral dilemmas. He inadvertently changes lives, and struggles with telling his new friends about the upcoming war and how it will change history. He also falls for a young woman while he’s there, and has to deal with that entanglement as well. He struggles to fit in at first, being homeless and jobless, but a chance encounter with another young man quickly changes his fortune.
First, I want to say that reading this book reminded me of old Happy Days reruns and Archie comics, and had that wholesome, feel good feel to it. Joel was a likable character, and his friends, Katie, Tom, Ginny, and Grace, were just as vibrant. The author also captured the time period as well, with the atmosphere, dialogue, and little details that really made the story come alive. The two problems I had with the plot itself, was that Joel, once he traveled through time, just shrugged and tried to adapt after only one attempt at going back. The author did give an explanation for the time travel being a rare planetary alignment, but I thought that Joel would mourn his family a little bit more than a few fleeting thoughts about them. He didn’t mourn them, nor did the thought seem to bother him. He was a frat boy, not really taking anything seriously, and that attitude carried. He did grow up, and I liked him a lot more toward the end of the book than the beginning.
The other problem I had with the plot, was that there wasn’t anything that compelled me to keep reading. There really wasn’t any personal conflict, as Joel seemed to accept his new era in stride, and the war was only a vague concept looming over the character’s heads. He’s a very happy go lucky guy, and the small conflicts involving him were quickly resolved. Everything was fairly easy for Joel, and he pretty much always did the right thing, making him a little bit boring.
It took me longer to finish because of the lack of conflict, about 4 or 5 days, when I can usually read a book like this in a sitting.
As for the writing, I found a couple errors, but nothing that stood out. I did have a problem telling Ginny and Grace apart, thanks to the similar names, and had a hard time differentiating the two even to the end.
I did like the relationships portrayed throughout the book, and the attention to detail the author gave to both the historical events and the time, which I really appreciated.
My Rating: 3.5
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This is the first book in a five book series, and you can buy it on Amazon for only $3.99, or it’s free on Kindle Unlimited.
Thanks for reading!