(As always, clicking on the cover will take you to Goodreads!)
Title: The Mine
Author: John A. Heldt
Published on: December 6th 2013
Genre: Historical fiction
Part of a series?: Northwest Passage #1
Get a copy: Amazon I Audible
A review copy of The Mine was kindly provided by the author -thank you!- for an honest review. My review is written in my own opinion and is uninfluenced by anyone.
I have to admit, I was barely interested in the story at the beginning but was still intrigued by the premise. Rarely do I read historical fiction and/or time travel books because I can be a bit slow at identifying facts, so I was a little wary towards The Mine. However, I decided to read this book because of the words 'time-travel'. They scare me as much as they fascinate me. I had no idea if I would like the year/time Joel was time-travelled to. Heck, what if this entire story just turned out to be a really boring history lesson until the last page?
The synopsis pretty much sums up everything you need to know about the story. By some stroke of luck, Joel just happened to be in the right place at the right time for him to be time-travelled back to the past, May 1941, due to a freaking planetary alignment. Joel emerges from the cave, expecting to be greeted by a very grumpy friend who was not there. Instead, he has yet to discover that was only the start to his time-travel adventure.
Like I said above, the beginning of the story did not pull me in. While it was not dull, the beginning wasn't exactly entertaining or compelling either. There was this overload of characters who I had to remember lest I get confused. Joel, who just came from the future, was also very successful at his first job in 1941 which I was sceptical about. Just because a person is from the future doesn't mean that he's good at everything. Plus, Joel was just a student in college in his time, although a bright one at that! The first 100 pages were not a pleasant read as I was still adjusting myself to the names and attitudes of the characters, and also the events that were happening. Joel's near-to-perfect ability to accept the bad news and adapt to his new environment doesn't feel right, and I couldn't form a connection with the characters. Eventually, I could more or less differentiate between the characters as I found out that they were really likeable as I went along with the story. Each one of them had their own special trait, which was a thing that I loved about this book.
I got into the swing of things at about halfway through. The slightly agonizing first hundred pages were worth it. Things were already starting to happen then and I could sense sparks flying between Joel and a female character that I'll later talk about. The story improved as it progressed and it was because of the tension in the romance of the story. From the beginning of Joel's time-travel, we're given the impression that Joel has feelings for Grace who, by some dumb luck, is engaged. Grace slowly starts to see Joel as someone other than her friend, and the plot of this story relies heavily on their relationship. Lovestruck Joel starts to make his move on Grace, who actually doesn't disapprove of his actions. She, in turn, attempts to know Joel better and tries to imagine him as her other half. In all honesty, I did not approve of this at first. I thought it was wrong of Joel to do that to someone who was engaged and even more wrong of Grace to break her promise. However, their lives were so cleverly interconnected that I gradually began to dismiss my thought.
What I particularly liked about this story was the apparent bond that the female characters had with each other, and the strong relationship between Joel and his newfound friends. I felt the sisterly bond between the girls and the way John uses this connection to excite the story is clever. The were there for each other even until the end, which brings me to my next point: the ending. I have absolutely no words for what awaited me at the end of this story. In some ways, I could've seen it coming, but I didn't. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions when I neared the ending; eager to read the last sentence. Trust me when I say that John had me savouring every word. The conclusion to this amazing and well-written story was like hearing good news out of the blue. I was expecting the worst. Instead, it turned out to be something that should've been really obvious but wasn't because John was too damn good at downplaying the situation.
- Readers who love historical fiction!
- Anyone who is looking for a good historical/sci-fi story.