Monday, February 8, 2016

Mercer Street

27258807Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer 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 courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

*May Contain Spoilers*
Dr. Bell is giving modern day people another chance to explore the past in John A. Heldt's newest novel, Mercer Street. An installment in the American Journey series, this novel takes three women back to 1938 with strict rules to follow and the means to survive the calm before the storm that is coming, World War II.
Amanda, Susan, and Elizabeth are three generations of a family that has endured a lot. Amanda, the youngest, has just graduated college and is aspiring to work at a D.C. think tank. She's an incredibly intelligent young woman with specific values and a strong sense of morality. Amanda dreams of excelling in her field and will undoubtedly gain the respect of readers. She also dreams of falling in love with a man who values her smart mind as well as her beauty.
Susan is Amanda's mother and is just as intelligent as her daughter. Readers will immediately connect with Susan based on the tragedy that occurs at the beginning of the novel. Just as Susan learns that her husband has been cheating on her, he dies. Susan is left with many questions, anger, and a sense of betrayal. Life has been unfair to Susan and she thinks that travelling into the past will provide much needed time to process everything that has happened. Readers will empathize with her grieving process while simultaneously be entertained by the second chance that 1938 offers her.
Elizabeth is Susan's mother, Amanda's grandmother, and a woman in her seventies that would give anything to see her parents again, which ultimately leads to the three ladies choosing 1938 as their time travel destination. Elizabeth is a respectable woman who has a life full of happiness and regrets. Readers will understand her need to meet her parents as younger people and enjoy watching her interact with her infant self.
The plot of Mercer Street begins with the three family members traveling to California for a much needed vacation, where they meet Dr. Bell at a lecture. After an in-depth conversation with Dr. Bell, he offers the women the chance to travel through time. Uncertain if they should believe him, the women take a chance that he isn't crazy and are rewarded with the experience of a lifetime. Filled with rich history and a couple of love stories, Mercer Street is a wonderful read. If all history books were like this, I might have enjoyed studying it more. The detail is fantastic though the writing style can be a bit stilted at times. And if there's one thing that has stuck with me through reading the American Journey series thus far, it's this: time travelers will always make a change whether it's on purpose or accidental.
Rating: 4/5 Cups

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