The Show  (Northwest Passage #3) - John A. Heldt I’ve had the pleasure of reading John Heldt’s previous time-travelling novels
[b:The Mine|13492200|The Mine|John A. Heldt||19025595] and [b:The Journey|16127537|The Journey|John A. Heldt||21951756]. Both were well written, well researched and very compelling and they both drew me in right from the start. They are novels that truly bring independent authors out of the shadow and into the limelight and positively promote the hard work they put into honing their craft as true professional writing. Needless to say I that I was looking forward to read [b:The Show|17381278|The Show|John A. Heldt||24174995], especially as it continued where The Mine left off.

Sadly, I have to admit that [b:The Show|17381278|The Show|John A. Heldt||24174995] what not what I expected it to be. It was not able to compel me and draw me in the same way that John Heldt’s previous novels have. Reading this novel was not as enjoyable as I had expected it to be and reading it became more of a chore, rather than something I would do for my personal enjoyment. I have to add that towards the end of the books this changes a bit.

I want to make clear right away that this disappointment of mine was not due to any fault in the skill and writing style of John Heldt. He still writes the only way that he knows how: pretty darn good! But what hit me and prevented me from enjoying book was that this book, unlike Heldt’s previous books, put way too much emphasis on the love stories and romantic intrigues between characters, characters that I came to find incredibly dull an one dimensional, simply because of this over-focus on the romance aspect - as if they wouldn’t have anything else that would concern and touch them.

Love stories can be OK and legitimate parts of any novel (though I have to add that I personally despise love stories), but when that aspect becomes the only thing that the book goes on about, then the story becomes, to me, incredibly dull and thin. There should be more depth and more levels to any book than just its main plot: love. Jane Eyre is my favourite example that illustrates what I mean: you have romance, you have young girls education, you have the early sparks that got the suffragette movement started, you have independence, you have the severity of child abuse and neglect and the consequences of dysfunctional relationships. You have far more than just the love story between the young governess Eyre and the gloomy Mr Rochester. The over-emphasis on romance is just out of place in The Show when you try to get into the mind and heart of a character that unwillingly gets thrown back in time. Where is the inner turmoil and emotional baggage? The character Grace seems to be pretty quick at “getting over it” and move on and her romantic involvement with a WWI veteran completely peeved me off. Where are the consequences of meddling with the time line both by direct action and indirect by telling what the future has in store to the people of the past (major spoiler deliberately not mentioned)? That's something that was definitely dealt with the two first books of this Northwest Passage series. The attitudes, behaviours and the actions of the characters, namely Grace, just don’t seem right or realistic to me and it they just ruined the book and overshadowed anything else that this book otherwise could have offered.

Criticism aside, I am looking forward to read John Heldt’s next novel, especially if he lays off the romance bit.

This review has also been posted on my blog: