Book Review: September Sky, Book 1 in American Journey Series, John A. Heldt

September Sky

September Sky, John A. Heldt

Summary Borrowed from

“When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.”


Parents and their children, especially families that have been split due to divorce or even worst death, can sometimes fall to the wayside or become estranged, as sad a situation as that is it happens all too often.  It has hit home for some close to me and it continues to happen all the time all over the globe.  Sometimes though redemption comes in the strangest packages, for Chuck and Justin characters in September Sky redemption came in the form of Dr. Bell and his offer to learn more about time travel and the possibilities it opens.  I just love a good read about parents and children, reading as their relationships play out, watching how the parents interact with their children and how the trust and love is developed.  The history of the relationship between these two men has more downs than up and Chuck knows that he is the main reason for the strain because he was more focused on his career than being a father.  So when the chance to spend more time together than just the cruise presented arose, he jumped on it – Justin was looking for an adventure – and Chuck wanted to repair his relationship with his son – so they grabbed the opportunity.

After reading John’s ‘Northwest Passages’ series I just knew that September Sky was going to be special, it had to be, how could it not!  So to say that John hit the mark on the head is a vast understatement, I fell in love all over again with his writing and stories just before picking up this novel by re-reading the ‘Northwest Passages’ series so I knew that when I started reading this novel I was already immersed in his stories and his mind – so therefore, I was able to just let go of everything around me and just enjoy it.  A chance to watch a parent-child relationship develop through the common bond of their developing relationships with Charlotte and Emily was a beautiful thing.  These men came to rely on each other and see one another as more than just father-son and more as friends! I kept reading as much as I could as fast as I could so that I could find out what happened with Wyatt and why he was charged with murder and who did it! That mystery and the interactions with the characters pulled me in – John’s ability to develop characters, situations, and a life for his stories is what kept me reading! And it is that special-style of writing that will keep me coming back for more in the American Journey series!

All in all Five out of Five Stars for John A. Heldts’ September Sky.

**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

About the Author

John 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.

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