Previous Installment: The Mine
Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.
Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.
John Heldt was the first author to ever contact me to review their book. That book was the first book in this series, The Mine (review HERE), which detailed a trip back in time to 1941 Montana for a rather cocky, self-assured young man named Joel. The Journey follows this same premise, except that this time, it is a 48-year-old widow who makes the trip back in time, to 1979, where she finds herself existing right along with her past self. As such, this was very much a book telling the tale of a woman who wants to try to steer her young self into different – and better – choices than the ones she herself made. If you’ve ever wished to go back in time and correct a past mistake, I think you might just get along fabulously with Michelle.
As with the first book, I want to commend Mr. Heldt for his historical details and accuracies. This book is set mostly in 1979/1980, which is when the Iran Hostage situation, the US vs Soviet upset in the Winter Olympics, and the explosion of Mount St. Helens all took place. I loved these additions to the storyline, and how Michelle used her knowledge of said events to her benefit, or rather, the benefit of others. It was very interesting to watch Michelle’s interactions with her other self; knowing full well where Shelly is headed, she did just enough to steer her to different choices without coming right out and telling her to do something different. I liked watching her tightrope walk between being a friend and being all too aware of what Shelly’s life would hold if she followed in Michelle’s footsteps.
I did have a bit of trouble adjusting to the dual viewpoints, but this was mostly because I wasn’t expecting them. You get chapters from Michelle and Shelly both, and while their voices were similar – they ARE the same person, after all – Michelle’s had enough maturity and foresight to never get the two confused. Shelly is very much a girl who’s on the precipice of a life change, and isn’t sure how to get what she wants, and while she makes some poor choices, everything she does happens for a reason and I enjoyed watching her figure things out. I definitely found myself pulling for her to figure things out and get everything she wanted!
All in all, The Journey is another well-researched, interesting time travel story from John Heldt. It’s about a woman who uses her trip to the past to become a different – and in some ways, better – person, while providing her young friends with some sorely-needed guidance and advice, but mostly, a great shoulder to lean on. The ending is perhaps a bit unexpected, but I think it made the ending have more of an emotional impact without becoming cheesy. If you enjoy time travel but want something a bit different, definitely check out this author and his books!
A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.