In May 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 is a love story that 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.
When I was first contacted by Mr. Heldt for a review, I must say I was rather excited. I’ve always been a big fan of time travel-type novels, especially those that are well written. Still yet, I had my reserves as it would have been really easy to mess a book like this up. However, I found as I read on that my reservations were completely unwarranted in this case–I found myself looking forward to each and every page.
The novel opens on Joel Smith, who, as the synopsis describes, was quite cocky but you could tell even then that he was rather intelligent and, despite all, seemed to have a pretty good heart. He and his friend are on a road trip before finals and graduation and they had stopped at a diner where Joel’s friend had left his sunglasses. Instead of going straight back, Joel convinces his friend to let him explore an abandoned mine for “just five minutes.” He reluctantly agrees, which sets forth a rather epic chain of events. This is because upon exiting the mine Joel finds himself not in the year 2000, but in 1940’s. Having no luck in figuring out how he got there he decides to hop a train to Seattle where a chance meeting gets him a job at the furniture store and has him butting heads with his own grandmother. It also spells trouble, though, when he falls for a woman who’s engaged to another. That’s all I’m going to say on that, don’t want to go giving away the story!
As far as the science and history within, I found both spot on. The explanation of how he was able to travel back in time made perfect sense, and the history was spot on!
Overall, The Mine is both an adventure story and a love story so epic that it is reminiscent of a Titanic sort of feel, knowing what is coming yet cheering for a happy ending all the same. There are times for tears and times for laughter as we follow Joel has he learns to balance life in the 1940’s with two pressing questions. Will he ever get back to the year 2000? If so, will he want to go back? The novel is written as if a close friend is telling you the story and keeps you immersed until the end.
I recommend The Mine for readers of almost all ages, the material within is timeless and there is no content within that I would worry about a young teen reading. I, myself, would definitely read more from John Heldt in the future, and I look forward to recommending this novel to others that love time travel novels as much as I do!
*I received a copy of this novel for review by the author, but it in no way affected my opinion*