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.
Michelle is given a chance none of us get. After realizing her life isn't what she's wanted, and dealing with regrets and no direction for her future, she gets the chance to go back in time and reshape her own life. By befriending her younger self, she gets to steer herself in the place that she thinks she might believe. What Michelle and Shelly both learn, is sometimes surprising.
As a character, I really didn't like Michelle. She wasn't 'human' enough for me. Sure, she's terrific and everyone loves her, whether they want to or not. But I really got sick of her being so darn perfect. However, by the end of the book, I too had fallen in love with her. I still would have liked her to be a little more flawed, but the ending makes it all worthwhile.
One of the things I'm finding that I love about Heldt's work is how he ties every novel together, just a little bit. It's kind of like watching a Disney movie and seeing a character from a different movie in the background. As you're reading, your brain is making these connections and you can't help but smile.
As usual, this is pure genius. I've quickly become a Heldt fan. Not only do we get to ride along with Michelle for her journey, but once again we find ourselves wondering how we would react in the same situation.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Shawn