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.
I’m a huge fan of time travel books and The Mine by John Heldt did not disappoint. Joel Smith is a carefree college student and soon to be graduate. While traveling back to school from a trip with best friend Alex, Joel discovers an abandoned mine and curiosity gets the best of him. At the time Joel happens upon a mysterious glowing room, the planets align in a rare occurrence sending him back to the year 1941. Confused by his journey, Joel decides to go to familiar surroundings and hitches a train for Seattle hoping to find work and a comfortable place to eat and sleep. After being rejected numerous times, Joel makes a friend and stumbles into a future when he helps Tom Carter escape from a couple of bookie thugs. With the help of Tom and his family, Joel gets a job, a place to stay, and gains some new and wonderful friends.
First I have to say that the only thing I found slightly questionable about the story is the way Joel was so accepting of the fact that he had traveled back in time, and how he adapted so easily to a time so far removed from his own. He transitioned quite seamlessly from an almost graduate to a working man making a living in the 1940’s and hardly batted an eye at the fact that he had traveled back in time. While it didn’t concern me too much because of Joel’s easygoing manner, I still expected a stronger reaction from him about his circumstances. Other than that I thought the story quite entertaining and fascinating. I love that through his new friend Tom, Joel meets and befriends his own college-age Grandmother and her sorority sisters.
One of those friends, Grace, Joel develops some deep feelings for and ends up struggling with all that he knows of the future, and his deepening feelings for Grace and his new found friends. Another friend, an Asian girl, Joel worries for in the midst of a burgeoning war and his knowledge of what is to come for Asian people in America in light of Pearl Harbor.
As a protagonist I loved Joel’s point of view. He was persuasive and charming, and very smooth. He never lets anyone or his predicament get the best of him, and manages to endear Tom and his friends to him almost effortlessly. I also found it fun and entertaining that he uses his knowledge about the future to help his friends and earn some extra cash on the side. But Joel’s situation is precarious in that he has to balance his knowledge of the future and helping his friends while trying not to alter the future or his own future existence.
The romance between Joel and Grace is sweet and passionate, and it made me ache for his predicament. It seems that they really belong together, but you wonder how that could be when they are from different times. The story is exciting, and charming, and full of mystery and wonder. The Mine totally captured me and pulled me so far in I felt like I was in the 40’s. I loved all of the characters and found myself invested in them and concerned for their lives and their futures.
Overall, The Mine was a lovely story about time travel, and a love so powerful and pure it could transcend time. Joel and his friends totally ensnared me and made me care for them, and I’d suggest this book to anyone who likes a sweet romance or are fans of time-travel.
Filed in: Reviews, Romance, Time Travel Tags: John A. Heldt, Review, Romance