Friday, May 20, 2016

Mercer Street

Author John Heldt gave me an e-version of Mercer Street for review.

To start with, let me say I chose Mercer Street, the second entry in the American Journey series to review this time because, are you ready...?

This is my 100th blog post! YAY! Thank you, Thank you. Okay, back to the book.

So, I chose a book by John Heldt because so far, and this is the fifth book of his I have read, his books have been great. I wanted a great book for my 100th and figured he was a good shot. Right again!

I have to say though that I am starting to wonder a little at the coincidences I have with John Heldt's books. His first series Northwest Passage takes place in my general part of the country, the Northwest (yeah, me and several million other people). One of the books; The Fire is set in Wallace, Idaho four miles from where I live (ok, still me and 1500 or so other people). Now, in Mercer Street, the main characters live in Lake Forest, Illinois. When I was in the first grade, my family lived in Lake Forest, in a house right behind Knause Motors. A lot of coincidence from one author.

Mercer Street is up to John Heldt's usual standard. The characters are well developed and easy to become attached to. I have to admit, I was a little concerned at first because the set up is very similar to September Sky, the first book in the American Journey series. When I understood that both of these books occur simultaneously, it made sense there would be similarities.

The story lines of the main characters draw the reader in fully, as Heldt does so well. And of course, there are multiple problems the characters must resolve. There are twists and turns on the way to the ultimate climax, but the final twist blew me away. Did not see it coming at all.

There has to be romance, duh, but there is much more, the uncomfortable knowledge of things to come, and not being able to say anything. Mercer Street is very emotionally satisfying, the story is more family oriented than usual, if that is possible. It is definitely a life affirming read.

Fortunately our author does not hold with those pesky rules other time-travel stories follow, most notably those in the movie Time Cop. I won't say more there, but, I enjoy not being bogged down with a lot of time-technology. The time-line of history is apparently not as fragile as we have been led to believe. I like that.

We have good strong, independent female characters here. They are more than able to deal with the situations that arise without becoming comic book superwomen. They are realistic, believable, and sympathetic. All this accomplished without falling into the portrayal of men as crotch-scratching buffoons.

Heldt is particularly adept at giving us characters who can tug at our heart strings at will. The "plot complications" are not as apparent, at least not as obvious from the start. We don't know what conflicts are going to face our travelers. Other readers may, but yours cluelessly didn't.

I guess what I really want to say here is; Mercer Street, like all of John Heldt's books, is a good, clean, nice read. I think that is the highest compliment I can give this book. Enjoy!


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