Author: John A. Heldt
Title: The Mine
Genre: Romance-Time Travel, Historical Fiction
I had mixed feelings about this book at the beginning, but by the end, I loved it, and the empathy it aroused for those caught up in the events of WW2 will never leave me. On the surface it looks like a simple story about a man who finds himself catapulted back to a previous time where he falls in love and later must decide if he will stay or return to his own time – alone, but there is a great deal more to it than that because of the brilliant way that Heldt has written the world of 1941 and the unique challenges facing his central character. Heldt undoubtedly knows his craft. The book is tight, insightful, clearly expressed and moving.
Blurb: 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.
Imagine if you lived in the US before that nation entered the second world war and you knew what was coming. Imagine that the man your grandmother loved and lost in the war became your best friend. Imagine that you had one chance to go back to the year 2000, but leaving meant leaving the woman you’d come to love and staying meant that you would have to fight in a war and if you lived, be eighty years of age before you saw your parents again. What would you say to a Japanese American friend when you know how their fellow Americans will turn on them after the US enters the war? These are the kind of questions that give this story its depth.
I was very impressed with how the author built the tension as the date for PearlHarbour came closer. This is certainly not an action story, but I couldn’t put it down. Like the best Indie books, it defies exact genre classification. It’s undoubtedly a romance, but not in the style of most traditional romances; it’s also excellent historical fiction but with a science fiction twist that throws a whole gamut of different challenges into the mix. It’s well worth a read and I recommend it for inclusion in the Awesome Indies listing.