Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Journey (Northwest Passage #2) by John A. Heldt

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Title: The Journey
Author: John A. Heldt
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: November 4, 2012
Genre: Time Travel, Romance

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.

I have read The Mine by author John A. Heldt, which is the first book in the Northwest Passage series, so I thought I knew exactly what to expect with The Journey. While the two books do start out pretty much the same, with the main character traveling into the past unexpectedly, that's where the similarities ended.

The Journey starts out with the protagonist Michelle trying to get on with life after her husband died. She attends her high school reunion and through a series of events ends up back in 1979 with her 18 year old self. Everything I've ever read about time travel indicates that if you were to go back in time, it would be extremely bad to change things. It would be even more risky to interact with your self - I think they call that a paradox, which I gather is a bad thing (well, it was bad on Doctor Who anyway). Michelle has these thoughts too, but that doesn't stop her from making the most of her new life and getting chummy with her younger self. She figures that if she can make some small changes back then, it might change her life for the better. 

The story switches back and forth between narrators: 49 year old Michelle and 18 year old Shelly (remember, they are the same person). Therefore you get to hear Michelle's perspective about what she thinks she could have done different, and Shelly's perspective basically tells Michelle's past, while also showing how Michelle's choices are affecting history. 

It really makes you think about what would happen if you were suddenly zapped back to the year you were a senior in high school, but you had to experience it as an adult with much more life experience and wisdom. Would you seek your younger self out and try to change things, like Michelle did, or would you try to disrupt as little as possible. Personally I think I would try to do as little as possible, probably move to another state and try to build a new life; it would be too tempting to hang out with myself otherwise and warn young me about the many bad choices I would go on to make.

I refuse to give away any actual spoilers, but this was me during one particularly important scene: 



I like when books catch me off guard though, even if it makes me cry into my ice cream. I'm still a little crushed though.

So far I'm really loving the Northwest Passage series. Author John A. Heldt has created some unique stories that get readers to think, and while the underlying premise is the same, the adventures are very different. The Journey was just that, a journey, and I look forward to continuing the series soon. 

If you would like to learn more about author John A. Heldt, please visit his website and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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