Review: THE JOURNEY by John A. Heldt – historical fiction/time travel/coming of age

Review by Tahlia Newland. A list of all her reviews can be seen here.


Series: Northwest Passage (No. 2)

Author: John A. Heldt

Genres: Coming of Age, Time Travel, Historical Fiction

If you could return to your past knowing what you know now, would you make the same choices again? This is the question at the basis of this intriguing story set in the time of the Iran hostage crisis and the Mt St Helen’s eruption. The Journey is a combination of historical fiction with romance and time travel, a unique mix that allows us to see the past while in the past, but from the unique perspective of having also known the future.

Michelle, a woman in her late forties whose husband has died, goes back in time by accident and finds herself in the same town as her seventeen year old self. She sees the opportunities she lost by taking the route she took at that stage of her life and wonders how life would have been had she gone in another direction. Once she recovers from the shock of finding herself back in 1979, thirty years in the past, Michelle finds herself in a position to befriend her younger self and becomes the confident that she had never had. They become good friends, and the older Michelle begins a new and satisfying life, a kind of second chance, while she encourages Shelly, the younger Michelle, to think more carefully about what she wants from life.

Michelle tries not to change things too much, always mindful of the affect on the future, but when a girl’s life is at stake, she makes sure that history does not repeat itself. The unforeseen results of saving one life however, is that someone else can be in another place in the path of a different kind of danger. This leads to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion to this moving and thought-provoking tale.

The book is skillfully executed, the prose beautiful at times and always smooth and lean. Whereas  the author’s last book, The Mine, had some pacing issues,  (it took a while to settle into the story) I can’t find such a fault, or any other, here.  The characters are deeply and sensitively portrayed with a good balance between action and the more contemplative aspects of  Michelle and Shelly’s lives.

I thought it clever how the story began squarely with Michelle’s point of view, turned more to Shelly as the story progressed, and ended very much as Shelly’s story.

I give it four stars and a place on the Awesome Indies list.

US Kindle store
UK Kindle store

2 comments… add one

  • Steven Atwood December 7, 2012, 11:10 am

    What age group would this be good for? My son likes to read these types of things.

  • John A. Heldt December 7, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Hi, Steven. Most of the main characters in the book are high school seniors wrestling with the sometimes serious problems facing kids thirty years ago. So I would say the appropriate age group would be high school on up. Hope this helps.


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