by John A Heldt
Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the "time-travel professor," and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.
Cameron purchases private papers from the 1920's for a dissertation on American History, and finds much more than he expected. Mingled among the papers are a photograph of a lovely young lady and pages from her diary discussing time travel. More digging uncovers a relative of the girl in the photograph, who reveals that time travel is indeed possible, and he can send Cameron back in time to the twenties for his research paper.
Although ordered not to save the lovely lady in the photograph from her untimely and grisly death, Cameron Coelho has plans of his own, and they definitely involve the girl in the photo, Candice Bell, an up-and-coming saucy editor for a local paper in Evansville, Indiana. But changing the past is never easy and any change made there could remove your very existence.
PG - Though it is discussed that Candice Bell was bludgeoned beyond recognition, there is very little actual violence in the entire novel. Mostly the book contains a lot of tension, risk, and veiled threats.
G - I don't recall any curse words at all in the book.
PG - There is a scene where a girl comes into a room wearing only a shirt, and it's implied what happens next. The couple are engaged at the time, not married, and end up pregnant. They get married not more than a month later, but there's a discussion of the mother of the bride 'doing the math'.
PG - There is quite a bit of drinking in the novel, which is interesting in light of the time - it's during the Prohibition days, but alcohol flows pretty freely under the covers in 'speakeasies', and there's a conversation about the police turning a blind eye to it. One of the villains in the novel is selling narcotics on the side.
There is some banter back and forth about papists, Catholics, and protestants, and there is a visit to a revival. The KKK is alive and well and composed of church goers. There is also a brief discussion about attending service on Sunday, but there's no real spiritual element apparent in the book. Conversely, there's not much negative about faith in general, although the revival seems to be depicted in a tongue in cheek light.
I was unaware during the reading of this book that it was third in a series. The first two time traveler groups in books one and two are mentioned only in passing and all three books probably stand alone. Certainly this one can.
Cameron and Candice make a lively combination, their interactions make this story what it is. The tension and interest between them carries the reader from the moment they meet. The research the writer did on the twenties was extensive, and the world there immersive. There were several plot twists to keep me guessing, and the characters were quite likable. A time travelling love story set in the time of gangsters and Tommy guns. Five Stars!
About the Author:
John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.