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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review: The Journey by John Heldt

Format: epub (provided by author)
Release Date: November 3, 2012
Purchase Links: Kindle l Nook

Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, The Journey gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

In his follow up to The Mine (which I reviewed back in July), author John Heldt has done something a little different.

He made his heroine a woman in her late forties.

Granted, this isn't completely new but for a book that can be defined as a "Time Travel Romance," it is a bit odd. Michelle is a bit of a tragic character. Readers meet her as she is burying her husband and looking back at her life and regrets. As a mature, older woman, Michelle isn't the usual heroine. This makes her life regrets more believable and appeals to a broader audience, after all, who would sympathize and relate to a  20 something year old woman who talks about her regrets? A young heroine wouldn't have sounded as tragic in this particular story.

Who wouldn't want to have a shot at going back in time and facing the younger, wilder version of themselves?

Another surprise is how well John Heldt wrote his female character. Michelle is emotionally distraught in the beginning of The Journey but by the end she has grown and learned that life is full of regrets and mistakes that are meant to shape and test us. Michelle establishes an almost immediate connection with the reader through her lonliness, regrets and sense of "Where do I go from here?" There won't be a single reader who doesn't

The Journey is a story of loss, regrets, second chances and the bittersweet moments every person has had or will have in their lives. Though intended for a broad audience and not strictly a romance novel, The Journey may possibly draw in more female readers than its predecessor due to its more emotional tone and unlikely heroine Michelle.

Fans of The Mine won't be disappointed with The Journey, a time travel romance that will have readers wishing that they could go back and correct the mistakes of their youth.


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