“I have a question.”
“How is your English progressing?”
“Well, I was wondering what part of ‘Keep Out’ and ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Danger’ you don’t understand.”
In John A. Heldt’s The Mine, There were many topics Heldt touched on, but didn’t dig deeper into. The main character, Joel, found himself trapped in the past without his family, worried about his actions changing the future, worried about impending world war, about his future in the past, what will happen to his Japanese-American friend, and found himself falling in love with one of his grandmother’s college friends. But Heldt only skimmed the surface of these topics and I found myself disappointed that I only got a glimpse of the story before any real conflict could rise.
Joel is an excellently developed character. He’s quick witted, well educated, and cocky. However, his transitional period is a bit unbelievable. He’s suddenly tossed into the 1940s but shrugs and starts a new life without even thinking of further investigating the mine or the happenstance that brought on his sudden trip into the past (even though, as stated, he’s well educated).
Tom is a 1940s college student who met Joel (posing as a rancher-cowboy) when he helped Tom get rid of a few debt collectors making good on Tom’s failed gambling habits. Tom’s character is very much like a friend Joel has is his own time and the two instantly grow close. Their friendship in the story comes naturally and it isn’t hard to see Tom and Joel together in any time period.
Grace is a timid missionary’s daughter, who is also engaged. She questions her engagement when she meets Joel as a mutual friend of Tom. The love story between Joel and Grace, again, is a bit unbelievable. Heldt describes no other attraction than Grace being a blonde beauty, then Joel and Grace are madly in love.
Ginny (Joel’s grandmother!) is the character that really makes this story take flight. A true spitfire, she works as a journalist for a newspaper writing on eye-opening topics. True to the grandmother he remembers, this Ginny seems to be able to see straight through Joel and knows there’s something more to him than what he’s sharing.
Overall The Mine was an okay story, but it really lacked the depth it could have had with all the topics it touched on. I would recommend for fans of light romance or historical fiction.