Award: Awesome Indies: APPROVED
Categories: Historical Fiction, New Adult, Romance, Time Travel
Series: Northwest Passage Book
Author: John A. Heldt
When Kevin Johnson, 22, goes to Wallace, Idaho, days after his college graduation, he expects to find rest and relaxation as his family prepares his deceased grandfather's house for sale. Then he discovers a hidden diary and a time portal that can take him to 1910, the year of Halley's comet and the largest wildfire in U.S. history. Within hours, Kevin finds himself in the era of horse-drawn wagons, straw hats, and ankle-length dresses. Traveling repeatedly to the same time and place, he decides to make the portal his gateway to summer fun. The adventure takes a more serious turn, however, when the luckless-in-love science major falls for pretty English teacher Sarah Thompson and integrates himself in a community headed for disaster. Filled with humor, romance, and heartbreak, THE FIRE, the sequel to THE JOURNEY, follows a conflicted soul through a life-changing journey as he makes his mark on a world he was never meant to see.
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Reviewed by Awesome Indies
October 21, 2014
While on a family trip to Wallace, Idaho, Kevin finds a relative’s secret diary that explains the shed in the back yard is actually a time machine. Being young and adventurous, Kevin decides to have a go and is transported to 1910. He makes friends, develops a positive reputation within the town, and even lands a serendipitous position as a school teacher. Kevin’s reason for staying in 1910 for as long as he did is a lovely lady named Sarah. Additionally, he meets a second young lady (Sadie) who seems to have affections for him.
While I expected Kevin, as the main character, to be the only point of view, the story was built through multiple points of view, some even being minor characters. The author was kind enough to announce these changes at the beginning of each chapter. As three-fourths of the novel was from Kevin’s perspective, it felt like a lazy way of telling the reader about a character. The point of view changes were distracting, especially when Sarah or Sadie took the stage. It allowed for redundant reflections that the reader knew from previous interactions told from Kevin’s perspective. Instead of adding a sense of romance or heartache, it slowed down the progression of the, otherwise engaging , narrative. The love story plays out rather unpredictably through charming dialogue.
The premise of the novel was unique and Heldt’s research on the time period shows. His description of the town of Wallace and the nuances of life lived in 1910 bring the reader back in time with Kevin and create a wistful desire to return to simpler times. The year itself acts as a character and creates a tension in the back of our mind since we readers (and Kevin) know about the forest fire that will occur in August of 1910.
While The Fire is billed as a historical romance, let it be known that the novel breaches two genres: historical romance and science fiction. The novel also champions the subjects of science and history by casually mentioning the importance of both during dialogue and internal reflections of the characters. An excellent starter for sci-fi fans wishing to branch out.