(Cover picture courtesy of Literary Inklings.)
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.
[Full disclosure: John Heldt sent me a free ebook of The Journey in return for an honest review.]
First, let me say how dare he! How dare John Heldt make me cry again!
Okay, that was a little bit melodramatic. Yes, The Journey made me cry just like the first book in his Northwest Passage trilogy, The Mine. I won’t tell you whether they were tears of happiness or sadness, but let me just say that it’s a very good sign when I’m so emotionally involved in a book that I show emotion reading it. The best part about The Journey? If you want to cry as well, you don’t have to read The Mine for it to make sense because the two stories are only connected by their time travel premises (so far).
In the beginning when Michelle travelled back in time to 1979 in the town where her younger self is a teenager, I kept thinking John Heldt had gotten himself into a mess. Would Michelle reach out to her younger self and try to change the past? What about the grandfather paradox? (If I kill grandpa before he has my father/mother, will I cease to exist? It’s the same principle with any manipulation of the past.) But the ending, oh the ending! John Heldt wrapped everything up brilliantly in a way that makes you both sad and hopeful.
Michelle as a character takes some warming up to, but you’ll absolutely love her by the end of the novel. As for Shelly Preston, Michelle’s younger self, you’ll love her immediately. The Journey is told from both of their points of view, which I absolutely love because you get to see the effect on has on the other and vice versa. I can’t tell you much about their relationship otherwise it would spoil things, but they make each other better people.
With a fast plot that made me hog the computer for nearly two hours, amazing characters and a tear-jerker ending, you can’t go wrong with The Journey. And at 99 cents at the Kindle Store, it’s a complete steal. It’s worth twenty times that, trust me.
I give this book 5/5 stars.