Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt (April 14, 2016) is a time-travel, clean romantic, adventure. When a doctoral student finds a picture of a 1920s flapper in a packet of primary source data, he becomes fascinated with the young woman and her tragic past. He tracks down time-travel expert, Professor Geoffrey Bell, and convinces Bell to send him into the past. Bell complies, but with the stipulation that Cameron bring back more of the crystals that make time-travel possible and not change the past. We feel for Cameron as he struggles with questions that haunt him: What if you fall in love, and the woman will be murdered in an atrocious way? Do you allow history to repeat, or do you attempt to change it, save her and try to manage the repercussions later.
What I liked about it
- I like how Heldt wove historical facts like the Indiana tornado into the narrative.
- The female protagonist is extremely likable and compelling. I enjoyed her struggle in a male dominated world where woman were not supposed to be intelligent, hard-hitting reporters.
- I loved the visit to a 1920s speakeasy and the juxtaposition of the revival tent.
- The glimpse into the ugly past of the KKK was a nice touch, and the author didn’t get too bogged down in it.
- The time-travel aspect was original, interesting, and mostly believable.
- The cover was subtle and sweet, and drew me in right away.
- I enjoyed the romance element in the story and found it appropriate for all ages as there was no steamy scenes.
- Fun time-travel plot twist toward the end.
What I didn’t like about it
- At first, it was hard to feel sympathy for Cameron, the lead character. He came off a bit poor rich kid and pushed his way into the time-travel.
- Some of the antagonists motivations were not developed and a little two-dimensional.
- At times, the dialogue seemed choppy or repetitive and stilted. I would have liked to see more action beats as opposed to dialogue tags.
- The pacing was a little slow until about half-way through when the conflict kicked in, and I couldn’t put it down.
- There did not seem to be any butterfly effect. Cameron’s actions had no repercussions for the future.
He had to admit that Kansas did not have on its best face. From 35,000 feet in early March, it looked like a scraggly brown mat that someone had left on a porch.
Although Indiana Belle tends toward lighter and shorter fiction than I usually recommend for Girl in the Jitterbug Dress readers, this story makes for an enjoyable fun, quick read with enough vintage flair to keep vintage enthusiasts entertained. The characters are likeable, plot believable, and the 1920s world of flappers, gangsters, and gun molls delightful. Indiana Belle will whirl you through the pages, leaving you happy and entertained. The perfect read for travel, vacation days, or lackluster evenings.
Vintage Enthusiast Rating
Have you read Indiana Belle or other books by Heldt? Which is your favorite? Do you like the 1920s? Can you Charleston? Please comment below.
Tam Francis is a writer, blogger, swing dance teacher, avid vintage collector, and seamstress. She shares her love of this genre through her novels, blog, and short stories. She enjoys hearing from you, sharing ideas, forging friendships, and exchanging guest blogs. For all the Girl in the Jitterbug Dress news, give-aways, events, and excitement, make sure to join her list and like her FB page! Join my list ~ Facebook page