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Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

by Kellyn Roth |
May 26, 2016

Once again, I publish a post when I’m not supposed to be publishing posts. But, hey, I’ve got some catching up to do! And I have a busy reading schedule for this summer, so … I think I’m justified.

Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

American Journey, #3


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.

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Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt is an amazing book that caught my attention from page one to the end.

Cameron Coelho, the main POV character, was interesting. At first I had a little trouble getting attached to him … I felt like we were learning a lot about the other characters and very little about the MC, which seems to be a common case in closed 3rd-person narratives (assuming I’m using that term right). However, as time went on, I got attached to him, too. He was admirable, but not too perfect. His back story was sad, yet not melodramatic or secretive, and fit in nicely with the storyline.

I’ll be honest … if it had just been Cameron, I wouldn’t have been quite so enthusiastic about this book. It took Candice Bell, the journalist, the rebel, the flapper, the Indiana Belle to liven up the story. She was … well, she was perfect. And by perfect, I mean she also had some faults and short comings (so bullheaded …) that made her perfect. And besides, she’s a redhead.

Candice’s family – mother, brother, sister-in-law, baby niece – were lovely. I especially liked Mrs. Bell.

The villains were hateful, but still human. These were hateful, but not too hateful. I don’t know if you know what I mean, but I get sick of totally evil villains. They’re kind of unbelievable. Like Dr. Doofenshmirtz. secretly I’m very lonely

The writing was very good. I liked the style. It didn’t throw me off with a ton of description or facts or super long words. I got the information I needed to proceed and give me a feel for the time period; nothing more.

I’ve loved the 1920s since I read Cheaper by the Dozen when I was 9-ish. It was wonderful to go back in time with Cameron and see this vastly different – and in my opinion vastly better – time period. Indiana Belle was thoroughly researched, which was good because historical discrepancies can throw me off.

Time travel has always fascinated me to some extent. I know it’s impossible (I actually had to think about this for a bit while I was reading this book to determine that, no, time travel isn’t ever going to happen), but I just keep wishing it was possible. Honestly, though, I don’t want to time travel to different time periods; I want to have been born there and grow up there and live there. XD

I might want some insight into what’s going to happen, though. I sure hope the future isn’t going to be like the one briefly shown in Indiana Belle.

The plot was amazing, probably the best feature of the book. Except Candice, of course. And the time period. And … ok, I’ll just tell you about the plot.

It has you asking a lot of questions. Can a romance between a guy from 2017 and a girl from 1925 work out? If Cameron finds a way to prevent Candice’s murder, will it disrupt the natural flow of time? Can Cameron find more of the magic crystals that are used to time travel? Can Candice uncover the crime ring in her hometown?

And the plot twists! Honestly, I never saw a single one of them coming. But I’m bad with plot twists … I never pick up on anything unless there’s so much foreshadowing that I hate the book. 😛

Another good thing about this book is that it wasn’t cliché. I know, I know. There’s nothing new under the sun. And perhaps I just haven’t read a ton of time travel books (which is … not really a “perhaps”), but this book seemed very original.

This is the third book in a series (American Journey), but I read it without reading the first two with no problems; the characters from the first two books were barely mentioned, and I doubt I gleaned any spoilers (or hardly any) for the first two.

This book has a little bit of everything. It keeps you on your toes; you’re constantly wondering what’s going to happen next. From speak easies to religious revivals to car races, from tornados to mountain lions to drug smugglers, there’s never a dull moment.

If you like action, adventure, time travel, historical fiction, and a bit of a murder mystery besides, you’ll enjoy Indiana Belle.


Older teenager-ish. If my memory serves me, there were three swear words, the Ku Klux Klan, illegal drinking (not details at all), smuggling drugs, a little kissing. There was also a mention (no details, no flashbacking, thank God) of an unmarried *clears throat* sleeping together. They got married soon afterwards … not that I’m trying to justify it or anything, but at least … ok, I’m going to stop now.


5/5 stars. This was one of those books that I really, really enjoyed.

Cover Review

I just love the cover of this novel! I mean, seriously. Look at it. It’s so perfect! I mean, maybe I would have gone with a different font if I were the designer, but it turned out really nicely.

**I received a free copy of Indiana Belle in exchange for an honest review**

~Kellyn Roth

John A. Heldt

About John A. Heldt

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.

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12 Responses

    1. You should; it’s really good! I think the writing style was actually kinda like yours at times. I don’t know why I thought that … I just thought it was like yours. *shrugs* I have no explanation for my thoughts.

  1. It sounds really good! I’m not sure if I’ll read it because I’m not quite as much of a fan of historical fiction as you are, haha, but it was really interesting to read the review!

      1. I don’t know, I think I might like it. I’ll think about it more and decide. To read or not to read, that is the question. 🙂

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