Mercer Street (American Journey, #2)by John A. Heldt Published 21 Oct 2015
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Love, honor, and courage take center stage in the second book of John Heldt’s American Journey time-travel series as three women from the present become entangled in the past in the tension-filled months leading up to World War II.
Weeks after her husband dies in the middle of an affair, Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel.
Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties.
Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to sacrifice and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.
"Mercer Street (American Journey, #2)" Reviews
If you like time travel novels, you will LOVE this one. It is intricately detailed and well crafted, and held my interest from beginning to end. The narrative was so realistic that it seemed I not only saw and heard the characters speak and interact with each other, but I actually felt their individual dilemmas, and was trying to help them find solutions. So, in essence, this novel was interactive for me.
What I especially appreciated about this novel is that there is an aspect very similar to what you will find in novels of several Latin-American "Boom" authors. (Sorry, I cannot mention any more about this because it would then be a spoiler.)
In the meantime, you might want to come along and join three generations of fascinating women embarking on the most exciting, informative, and gratifying journey of their lives. You will not regret it. In fact, you will be enchanted by "Mercer Street," I promise!
I will certainly keep Mr. Heldt in mind when I look to purchase other books I can get into and not put down.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Mercer Street by John A. Heldt is the second book in the Americal Journey Series. As a fan of Mr. Heldt's books I had a lot of expectations for this book, and as expected, this book lived up to each and every single one of them.
I always find Mr. Heldt's novels very meticulous, gripping and heart-warming. There's a unique quality about his writing that makes you feel eerily happy and content while reading his books that you simply can't put them down. His story-telling is so beautiful that his writing puts tons of 'big-time' authors to shame in comparison.
This story is about three females of varied ages - a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. I loved the assortment of memorable characters and their deliciously distinct backgrounds in this book. They were so compelling that I found myself thinking about them for days, especially about the way things ended.
The vivid imagery, the complex emotional battles each character fights, the moving story and the gut-wrenching situations the characters go through make this book an unforgetful read.
There are some books that are not simply read, but experienced, and this one is one of those. When you read each and every chapter, you feel like you're not just reading them but savoring them and feel like doing it slowly so as to enjoy the experience for a long time.
I highly recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you read.
You can also read this review at The Reading Bud.
Originally posted on Reveries Reviews
I’ve decided to make this a brief review as I didn’t enjoy the book a lot and I’m short of time today.
Mercer Street wasn’t a bad novel, but the content was simply too much for me to enjoy it (causing me to remove a star).
I really enjoyed much of the plot, especially the ending, which really surprised me and was the perfect resolution. It was a little slow-paced at times.
I did find it a little unbelievable that Bell would choose to share his secret with strangers, even considering the background check. Still, I see why he would do that, and I don’t find it too unrealistic.
The characters in this book were all fairly well-developed and interesting. I especially liked Amanda (though I can’t support some of her choices) and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was so sweet … and yet really fun!
I love the late ’30s, but I felt like there just weren’t enough historical details in this book. We spent a lot of time focusing on character development, etc. … and I would have just liked more ’30s!
I really do like Heldt’s writing style, and this did not disappoint. I did feel like there was a lot more innuendo/etc. in this book, though.
Forgiveness, not judging people by outward appearances, etc. were well-portrayed. However, I felt like the whole adultery thing was just glossed over. It’s not a ‘mistake.’ It’s a sin. Of course, I’m a Christian reading a secular novel, so …
Language: a couple instances of ‘d*mn’ and ‘h*ll.’ Not frequent.
Violence: mentions of gunshot wounds, dying, a car crash, etc. Nothing gory.
Sexual: a character in the book committed adultery (which I felt wasn’t dealt with seriously enough) and it is mentioned many times. Sex happens off-page once, and there is much innuendo/etc. Susan is a ‘steamy romance’ writer and she mentions her books a couple times. A mention of strippers. Men ogle Amanda and try to ‘seduce’ her.
Not recommended for younger teens. Older teens cautioned.
A four-star book with two-star content, I took the middle ground. It had a good plot (though perhaps a little slow) and interesting characters, but I would have liked more historical detail.
The second book in John Heldt’s American Journey series finds three generations of twenty-first century women on an adventure to pre-WWII New Jersey in a search for closure, clarity, and childhood innocence. Novelist Susan Peterson is still trying to find calm amid the chaos following her husband’s unexpected death, grappling with the reality of his infidelity while trying to hold the world together for her daughter, Amanda. When Susan’s mother, Elizabeth, accompanies the Peterson women on a California adventure, none of them expect that Elizabeth’s curiosity over time-travel lecturer Professor Geoffrey Bell will grant them all the chance of a lifetime. With nothing to lose, the trio embark from 2016 California to 1939 California, and from there across the country to Princeton, New Jersey and a rented house on Mercer Street where Elizabeth comes face-to-face with her immigrant parents and their infant daughter Lizzie. With the world’s best hindsight to her advantage, an elderly Elizabeth relishes the chance to spend more time with her parents and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a meaningful connection with her younger self. Meanwhile, Susan finds love and fulfillment in working with a handsome naval admiral as Amanda finds herself crossed in love – and maybe danger – with a dashing German whose family is keeping a secret.
Wonderfully capturing the calm before the storm of World War II, Mercer Street is another beautiful novel from author John Heldt, whose remarkable talent allows him to transform time-travel from a plot device into the foundation of a substantial and unforgettable story. With terrific pacing and comfortable narratives, Heldt takes his novels outside the bounds of genre fiction and into uncharted territory as he combines romance, suspense, and observations on human nature. Mercer Street is not unlike previous novels from Heldt in its ability to carry profound insight in even its more lighthearted passages, making for an experience that will please both escapist fiction lovers and more contemplative readers alike. The era and the characters in Mercer Street suit this scheme well. Through Amanda’s love interest, Kurt, Heldt explores the vulnerability of a young German as he clings to his powerful sense of morality in the shadow of Nazi Germany’s uprising; through Elizabeth, the grace of an elderly woman’s reconnection to her younger self as she literally relives moments of her life too old to be remembered; and through Susan, a woman’s search for her own strength as one love life takes shape even as another is still to be mourned. While each character and their personal experiences manage to take root for the reader, perhaps the most arresting is that of Elizabeth as she seems to get to the very heart of the human experience. It’s hard not to be affected by the imagery Heldt creates through Elizabeth’s first meeting her younger self, and then the fostering of an undeniable connection that grows so strongly between one’s present and past selves.
One of the other great strengths of Mercer Street, as with so many of Heldt’s novels, is the intrepid research that goes into the groundwork of its story. The energy of the time, when so much was unforeseeable, is captured in detail while unexpected figures from history take their turns gracing the pages in a series of cameos that will delight enthusiasts of the era. For his first novel set on the east coast Heldt has chosen a place as unforgettable as the time, with Princeton coming to life in both the simplest narrative illustrations and in Elizabeth’s poetic recollections of the world she once knew. It all comes together as the story whirls through its many manageable layers, at once comfortable to read and quite steeped in meaning, as it works up to its unexpected ending. With all the charisma, humor, and wisdom of the author’s previous novels – and with perhaps an even richer cinematic quality – Mercer Street is another winning and unmissable read from a truly well-skilled writer.
(Review © Casee Marie, originally published on LiteraryInklings.com. A copy of the book was provided for the purpose of review.)
I have read a few of books by Heldt, all about time travel. Mercer Street is the second book in the American Journey series and since I enjoyed the first naturally I wanted to read this one. This author is very talented when it comes to creating stories about time travel and I look forward to more from him.
Susan, Elizabeth and Amanda are on vacation when they attend a lecture about time travel by Geoffrey Bell. When Mr. Bell approaches them with an impossible opportunity to travel back in time to 1938 they can't refuse. Elizabeth wants to meet her parents when they were in their prime and she was only a toddler. Susan wants to move on from the death of her husband by running around in the past. Amanda just wants to have the adventure of the lifetime before she has to start working in the real world. Every woman starts friendships and relationships that shouldn't be possible and some could be dangerous. Will they be able to get back to their time without changing their future?
I was a little worried at first that this was going to seem too much like the other time travel books by Heldt. However, that wasn't the case it was so different. I really don't know how Heldt can manage to put so much history in his books. I have never been good with history so there is no way I could go back in time without causing a lot of problems. It was nice to see Amanda slip a few times, as bad as that is to say because there is no way someone could remember all of that stuff.
I loved Amanda and Kurt they were great and just seemed like they would be together. Honestly their scenes were my favorite parts and I looked forward to their chapters each time. Susan was a strong character and the obvious leader by her fearless attitude. I liked her and Jack but I never felt like she was really in that relationship. Elizabeth was my least favorite character but I think it was because of her age. It was just hard to read all of her parts because the bored me a little.
I always love these books because it feels like a blast from the past. It's how history lessons should have been like in high school because then maybe I would have paid more attention to them. I highly recommend this series to everyone and you won't be disappointed.
Mercer Street is the second book of John A, Heldt's American Journey five-part series. Like the rest of the books, it's not required to be read in order. I started off with the third novel, Class of '69. I quickly became a fan of Heldt's writing and couldn't wait for more. I was glad this one didn't disappoint.
Now that I've read all five, in this second book, I've noticed a lot of similarities with the other novels, such as repetition in the dialogue between characters, which made me begin skimming. Although it's the second book in the series, it's the fifth one I've read, and reading some of the dialogue became tedious. That said, I don't plan on subtracting any points from the book because I truly enjoyed the story that was weaved together.
Professor Geoffrey Bell and his wife, Jeanette are the only characters that remain in each of the books. I like them, particularly Geoffrey. They aren't present much, which is a shame but understandable. They are the keepers of a time traveling tunnel built by Bell's distant relative, Percival Bell. Every so often, they choose people as a guinea pig of sorts to travel to certain parts of the past using this tunnel. The way the return is by use of a magnificent crystal.
In Mercer Street, Susan Peterson travels with her mother, Elizabeth, and daughter, Amanda, to the year 1938, to Princeton, New Jersey. There, the trio gets swept up in love, honor, and heartbreak as they embark on a journey of a lifetime.
As usual, the story line is intriguing and fun to read. Heldt does an amazing job with his research to make this story believable. Of course, with any story messing with events of the past, anything can happen. I'm sure if you had the opportunity to walk into yesteryear, you'd be tempted to make the most of it. You'd want to make new friends with amazing people, even fall in love....after all, the heart wants what the heart wants. And just like any story messing with events of the past, even the smallest change may have major consequences that could impact the current times.
I won't say whether it did or didn't in this book. That's the fun part of turning the pages until you've reached the end. Mercer Street is a light, clean read, one that you can't put down.
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