The Mine, John A. Heldt's debut novel, offers readers not only a memorable love story, but a keenly imagined examination of what life was like for America’s youth in the months leading up to the disastrous conflict of World War II. Heldt's dedicated research brings the 1940s to life while his talent for crafting vivid, original characters lends even more depth to the novel’s moving story. Written with an entertaining combination of poignant sensitivity and charming wit, The Mine creates an extensive personal journey for its hero and readers alike. I greatly enjoyed the author’s prose and the flow of the novel. While the intertwined lives of Joel and his 1940s-era friends keep the pages turning, there can also be found in The Mine a very relevant observation of human character, the timelessness of it as well as the beauty of personal growth. Part of Joel's appeal, I think, is his down-to-earth intellect and knowledge of 1940s history, which prevents him from having any glaringly awkward moments as a man from the future. He's a character touched with good fortune at the novel’s beginning, but he’s quickly humbled to the gravity of his plight and he becomes a close companion to the reader; he's a hero whose challenges are somehow quite easy to relate to. In such a way the depth of the novel’s message seems to jump out and take the reader by surprise as the story comes to a close. Additionally, Ginny, her fiancé Tom, Joel's love interest Grace, and many other characters from Joel's sojourn into the 1940s seem to complete the reader’s transition into the era, offering a wholly original and engaging experience.
I found it interesting that The Mine does not directly involve the Second World War in its depicted time frame, but the war is more than appropriately acknowledged and the story itself does not feel anticlimactic for it. Heldt's mastering of time travel as a device for fiction contributes greatly to the novel’s success, taking a well-known tool and spinning a story that is at once inspiring, heart-warming and significantly romantic. As a result, The Mine goes beyond a Back to the Future guise to achieve something fully unique and brimming with meaning.
Title: The Mine Author: John A. Heldt Genre: Period drama, historical romance Publisher: John A. Heldt Format: e-book Release date: February 12, 2012 Source: John A. Heldt (C/O) Buy the book: Amazon Connect with the author: Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari