Book Review: The Show By John A. Heldt

***I received a free copy in exchange for a review***

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.

17381278I loved this 70 chapter book. If you’ve already read the first book in the series, then it starts off a little slow because it explains the back story of Grace and Joel’s relationship while providing details of how she found his note about returning to the year 2000. Once that section is over, the book has an interesting love story. Keep in mind, a person can love a significant other, friend, and family member.

My favorite lines: 1) “Most people call it a shopping mall,” Katie said. “I call it organized chaos.” 2) How could a man, any man compete with a memory? 3) When you abruptly abandoned loved ones, you left wreckage behind. 4) And with that, three women once separated by time, space, and death were reunited.

The author had a brilliant talent with characterization and setting.

  • There were a lot of characters for the reader to juggle, but the author did a great job of having each character’s personality shine through as well as revealing different motivations. I wasn’t confused nor lost at all. I loved seeing Penelope, Edith, and Katie in different stages of their lives. I thought their personalities and mannerisms stayed consistent while they were older women, teens, and in Penelope’s case, a little girl. John A. Heldt managed to make all the relationships three-dimensional.
  • The story covered three time zones: 1941, 2000, and 1918. As a reader, I wasn’t confused because the clothing, body language, dialogue, gender belief systems and expectations were established clearly in a very descriptive way. It felt like I was transported in the different time zones alongside Grace. I thought it was cool how Grace managed the unexpected twists–talk about utter confusion for her.

A love story can’t be perfect so, of course, there were some obstacles. On Grace and Joel’s anniversary, they attended an event at the remodeled movie theater. This is where the story really got entertaining for me. My favorite sections and chapters–the ones that featured Grace getting to know her ancestors in 1918. I respected that everyone was skeptical and didn’t just blindly believe Grace; it made the story more realistic. Being invested in Grace and Joel’s relationship since the first book in the series, I didn’t care for John, the next door neighbor in 1918, trying to pursue Grace.

My favorite scenes: 1) when Grace saw her mom and dad for the first time 2) Grace’s interactions with her great uncle, Alistair 3) the scenes in the remodeled movie theater (present and past)

The ending was intense. Did Grace end up with John? Or was she trapped in 1918 forever due to the movie theater fire? Could she find her way back to 2000 to be with Joel? You’ll have to read the story to find out. I can say that the cliffhanger definitely motivated me to want to read the next book!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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