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Monthly Archives: November 2013
The Show by John A. Heldt
Reviewed by Julia Flowers writing as A. T. Weaver
“Seattle, 1941. Grace Vandenberg, 21, is having a bad day. Minutes after Pearl Harbor is attacked, she learns that her boyfriend is a time traveler from 2000 who has abandoned her for a future he insists they cannot share. Determined to save their love, she follows him into the new century. But just when happiness is within her grasp, she accidentally enters a second time portal and exits in 1918. Distraught and heartbroken, Grace starts a new life in the age of Woodrow Wilson, silent movies, and the Spanish flu. She meets her parents as young, single adults and befriends a handsome, wounded Army captain just back from the war. In THE SHOW, the sequel to THE MINE, Grace finds love and friendship in the ashes of tragedy as she endures the trial of her life.”
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This is the third of John Heldt’s Northwest Passage series and the third I’ve read.
I have to say it took me a while to get into this one. The first part of the book is dedicated to Grace and Joel’s life in the 21st century. It isn’t until Grace goes back that the story finally piqued my interest.
When Grace again finds herself in another time, you feel her anguish at the thought of never seeing her husband or twin daughters again.
The author has again broken (or maybe bent) one of the common ‘rules’ of time travel. That of ‘don’t alter history’ when Grace meddles in the lives of her parents. Any other author would see this as a change that could lead to Grace not being born.
However, this tends to fit with Richard Bach’s theory of multiple time lines that run parallel to each other and people who exist on more than one plane.
Mr. Heldt’s research into the time period of which he writes shows in the details of his writing. His descriptions of the clothing, furniture, atmosphere and mannerisms of the time cannot be faulted.
I’m looking forward to the fourth book of the series and any more to come.
There was one point when writing Acceptance that I was crying so hard I could hardly see to type. It happened again this morning while working on See You In The Morning:
Dave stood at the head of the table. “There’s something Dad and I want to discuss with all of you, especially you four kids. We’ve been talking since the celebration in June. We aren’t getting any younger. We’re both in our seventies now. Soon one of us is going to die…”
“Papa, don’t talk like that!” Chrissy interrupted him.
“Baby, remember when Grandpa Jerry died? I told you then ‘death is a part of life.’ We all come to that time, some of us sooner than others.”
“Are you and Dad okay?” Ben asked.
“There’s nothing wrong with either of us except that our bones creak a bit and we move a little slower. We both had physicals last month and everything’s fine,” Jake answered.
“So why bring it up now?” Mary asked.
“Because Dad and I want you to know our wishes. What we want to happen to us,” Dave said. “We’ve been talking and we want to be together. We’ve been together for over fifty years and don’t think it should end with our deaths,” Dave explained.
“So what do you want?” Ben asked.
Dave handed each of them an envelope. “Inside these envelopes are notarized statements. It isn’t our wills. Those are in the safe deposit box at the bank. Ben, you and Mary are authorized to get into that box since you are the two oldest.
“This envelope contains what we would like to have done with our bodies.”
Jake took over. “We want to be cremated. I know there was a time cremation was not as common as it is now. We have pre-paid plans that are also in the safe deposit box. Whichever one of us dies first, the other is to keep his ashes. When we’re both gone, one of you kids, or all four of you, is to take both of us to Point Bonita. There where we had our first kiss, where we got married, is where we want to be together.”
Tears cascaded down Mary and Chrissy’s cheeks and sobs wracked their bodies.
“Of course, you kids may not be able to get all the way down and back up. You may have to send one of the grandkids or great-grandkids,” Dave said with a smile. “Mary, Chrissy, save your tears for when we’re gone. Celebrate while we’re still here.”
Ben stood up and raised his glass. “A toast to our fathers. Two of the greatest men I know. They may not be famous, but they made a big difference in our lives.”
This morning, I posted an excerpt on the NaNoWriMo site from my WIP so decided to also post it here:
Jake sat by the hospital bed and clasped the hand of the man he’d loved for over fifty years. The only sound in the room was the rhythmic pump of the ventilator as it forced air in and out of Dave’s lungs.
The nurse laid a hand on Jake’s shoulder. “Mr. Williams?”
Jake turned. “Just a few more minutes. Our kids are on their way.”
The door opened and Chrissy entered the room. Streaks formed by mascara-blackened tears ran down her cheeks. Her voice quivered. “Daddy?”
“Come on in, Baby.” Jake reached his empty arm out to her.
“What happened, Daddy? Will Papa be okay?”
Jake shook his head. “No, Baby. He had a bad stroke.” He paused. “His brain wouldn’t stop swelling. The doctor said a few minutes ago there is no brain activity. The ventilator is breathing for him and that’s all that’s keeping his heart beating. I wanted to wait for you to say goodbye before they shut it off.”
Isaac and Mary walked into the room in time to hear what Jake said. Isaac placed his hand on Jake’s shoulder. “Are you okay, Dad?”
“I’m fine, son.”
“Do you think he knows we’re here?” Chrissy asked as fresh tears followed the black streaks down her cheeks. She wiped them with the back of her hand.
The nurse handed her a tissue.
“I’m sure he does,” Jake answered. “He may not know it in his body, but his spirit knows. That’s still alive and watching us.”
Chrissy leaned over and kissed the forehead of the man in the bed. “Goodbye, Papa.” She straightened up and leaned into Jake’s embrace. “Daddy, Brad and the kids are outside. Should they come in?”
“I don’t think Papa would want the kids to see him like this. Let them remember him the way he was at Tony’s birthday party last Saturday when Papa teased him about his girlfriend. You go on and wait outside with Brad and the kids. I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
Chrissy kissed Jake’s cheek and walked to the door.
Jake watched as she stepped into the arms of her husband.
Isaac patted Dave’s shoulder. “I love you, Papa. I say a prayer of thanks everyday for you and Dad. Who knows what would have happened to me if you hadn’t found me.” He, too, left the room. “I’ll be outside, Dad.”
Mary laid her head beside Dave’s. “I love you, Papa. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for helping three kids stay together and making us a family.”
After the kids left, Jake spoke to the man in the bed. “I’m just sorry Ben couldn’t get here. He and Miguel are in London for a concert. We did a good job, Babe. We raised four wonderful kids. Who would have thought all those years ago where pizza would lead?”
He turned to the nurse and nodded. The ventilator stilled. The peaks of the line the line on the heart monitor became more irregular until it finally turned into a straight line. Jake stood up and brushed a stray hair from Dave’s forehead. Hair that once was so luxurious and black was now snow-white and thin. He leaned over and kissed him. “Goodnight, my love. I’ll see you in the morning.” His shoulders drooped as he walked out of the room.
So far in Nano, I’ve written 8,512 words. I had about 4,000 and suddenly my characters decided they wanted to do something that wasn’t in the original outline. So here I am 4,600 words later and still not finished with what they told me they wanted.
The Journey by John A. Heldt
Reviewed by Julia Flowers writing as A. T. Weaver
“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.”
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How many of us have ever wanted to go back in time and change the outcome of our own life? That’s just what Michelle Preston Richardson does.
Most time-travel rules say you should not do things that may change the course of history and you should definitely not interact with your former self. But, what are rules for but to be broken or bent. And that is what Heldt does in this second book of his Northwest Passage series.
Michelle uses her knowledge of the future to nudge, not only her younger self, but former classmates and friends, into taking a different path. By doing so, she allows herself and others to find more meaningful and fulfilling lives. And in some cases, longer lives.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book even if the ending left me with a question. “Does time really exist?”
As I said, this is the second of this series and I can hardly wait for more.