The Mine – John A. Heldt

MineJHWrapped into a unexpected time-traveling adventure, The Mine is a wonderful love story and a testament to friendship. Joel Smith accidentally goes back to the 1940s when he’s in an abandoned mine at the crazy right time of a massive planetary alignment, the kind that happens just once in a lifetime. Triggering some sort of technological (or even just plain magical) wall, Joel walks out to find the world a very different place than when he went in during May 2000.

We’ve all seen time-travel movies, the warnings of what happens when you have the opportunity to alter the past. So what is a young man to do realizing he’s trapped in the past, decades before he – and years before his parents – are born? He gets a job, uses his knowledge of sports highlights to win some bets, and tries not to screw up the lives of too many people along the way, especially knowing that the U.S. will be drawn into World War II within a few months of his unfortunate arrival. He creates a cover story for his mixed-up life, and he forms amazing friendships with college students his own age.

Joel doesn’t intended to fall in love, but he does it with so much heart you hope he has a wonderful life with the woman of his dreams. The romance is breathtaking and honest, even though Joel has to fudge a little about everything else.

Honestly, I was skeptical of the plot at first – I was worried I’d end up with an “I’m my own grandpa”-type of story (so glad it’s not!). I also fretted over a couple of technical mistakes (the drinking age before WWII was 18, not 21). But these can be overlooked by the great writing throughout the rest of the book. This book is well worth suspending your belief in space-time continuity for the vivid storytelling. The author must be a fan of antique cars, considering the passionate details he uses to describe them.

I recommend this book if you love a good story about interpersonal relationships, not matter what genre you prefer. There’s a little science fiction, a little romance, and a lot of good literature.

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