Book Review: The Journey by John A Heldt

November 30, 2012

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Journey by John A HeldtThe Journey by John A Heldt
Series: Northwest Passage #2
Published by Self-Published on 3rd November 2012
Source: Author
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.
Where do I start with this review? I read The Mine, the first book in the Northwest Passage series earlier this year, and I have been thinking about it ever since. So when I was given the opportunity to review The Journey, the second book in the series, I was practically jumping up and down in excitement.

I love how Michelle had a huge role in Shelly’s life. Michelle was able to guide her into making the right decisions for herself, including breaking up with her boyfriend Scott and choosing the right college for herself, no matter what the costs. Had it not been for Michelle’s encouragement and guidance, Shelly would have simply relived the live Michelle had been living, something that Michelle desperately did not want her to do. After all, the past thirty-one years had been miserable for Michelle, so why would she want Shelly to suffer the same fate?

What I loved in The Mine, and I continued to love in The Journey was the fact that Heldt’s characters do not get themselves into terribly awkward situations when they find themselves in a decade from the past. When Michelle finds herself transported back to 1979, she is panicked, and not entirely sure what’s going on, but she dusts herself off and finds a way to support herself, by getting a job in the high school she previously (and currently) attended. I liked how she used her knowledge of the future for the good, instead of choosing to make money off it, she really used her power to change the lives of those around her. I felt Michelle took a huge step by pawning off her wedding ring, and her story really began for me from there. I was pleased she was able to find love with Robert Land, the pair could relate to each other in more ways than one, although I was sad that she chose to keep her time-travelling past a secret from him, especially as she ended up having no way of telling him in person.

The way that Heldt managed to weave in characters from The Mine into The Journey was simply masterful. I was kicking myself for not realising sooner who the Franklins were, and I adored seeing a much younger Joel pop up into the story too. The characters from The Journey were fantastic too. I loved Michelle and how she was determined to change the lives of those she loved. I felt for Brian, Shelly’s best friend who was in love with her, but Shelly refused to acknowledge him as anything more than a friend. And Scott, who I disliked right from the first chapter. He was controlling, manipulative and rude, and I wanted nothing more than for Shelly to get rid of him! Unfortunately that took too long to happen, but I eventually got my wish.

The Journey has an incredibly bittersweet happily ever after. Michelle makes the ultimate sacrifice in trying to save the lives of those she loved, although it was that sacrifice that stopped Shelly from turning into Michelle, and realising that everything she could have ever wanted was living only a few yards away.

The Mine turned me into a huge fan of Heldt, but if I thought The Mine was good, it was nothing in comparison to The Journey. This was a book that tugged at my heartstrings, made me laugh, got me close to tears, and left me eagerly wanting more.

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