Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
I have received a free copy of The Fountain by John A Heldt. And to find out more about the author you may visit his website.
Here is the book blurb.
Portland, Oregon. In May 2022, the Carpenters are a sad lot. Bill, 81, has just buried his beloved wife. Paul, 75, has terminal lung cancer. Annie, 72, is a paraplegic with broken dreams. Childless and directionless, the siblings face an uncertain future in their childhood home.
Then Bill, a retired folklore professor, learns from a dying man that the legendary Fountain of Youth, his obsession for decades, may be more than a myth. He races to Mexico to find the truth.
Within weeks, the Carpenters, with nothing to lose, enter a mysterious cave and exit in July 1905 as healthy young adults. They begin new lives in Oakland, California, only vaguely aware of a devastating earthquake that will rock the San Francisco Bay Area on April 18, 1906.
In THE FOUNTAIN, the first book in the Second Chance trilogy, three siblings find opportunity, romance, and heartbreak as they make the most of a new lease on life.
Readers’ Advisory: The Fountain is the first novel in a family saga that spans several years. While some storylines are resolved, others are not. They are addressed in subsequent books.
This is the first book in a new series which has a different twist to the author’s previous series. Still time travel, but age changing too via the supposedly mythological Fountain of Youth.
The main characters are siblings in their twilight years and things are not looking rosy in 2022. Bill has just buried his wife, Paul has terminal cancer and Annie is in a wheelchair. The early part of the book concentrates on Bill finding out that the Fountain is indeed real and located in a remote area of Mexico. And then convincing Paul and Annie that they should all take a dip, along with the logistics of winding up their affairs, getting there and disappearing without other campers seeing. Not an easy feat, especially for Bill carrying Annie once the wheelchair is left behind.
They emerge from the Fountain in 1905, young and healthy. Bill is in his early 20s and Paul and Annie are in their teens. It works well how they have their life experiences behind them in their characterisation, now in young bodies. They travel from Mexico, settling in Oakland, California and have vague memories from their previous knowledge of “history” that there will be a serious earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, but can’t recall when exactly.
This is a great feature of all John Heldt’s stories. He is always painstaking at weaving historical facts into his books, with fantastic attention to detail. I didn’t know about the earthquake and nor did I know the geographical proximity of Oakland and San Francisco. The story indicates that they are across a bay navigated by ferry, which I could easily see is about 10 miles on GoogleMaps.
Their new life revolves around Oakland Preparatory Academy where Paul and Annie are students and Bill gets a job. Friendships and romance blossom as we meet new characters including Cassie Lee, a teacher along with her younger adopted brother Andy, who is in Paul’s class. More classmates including Pauline Wagner.
Chapters alternate as to from whose perspective. But there is always the looming threat of the pending earthquake. When will the disaster strike? And what will ensue? A brilliant page turner.
For those who are fascinated like me, I looked up the Fountain of Youth on Wikipedia. It appears to feature in many legends and I love how the author made it focal to this tale. And yes of course I researched the 1906 San Francisco earthquake too.
The Fountain is available on Amazon, in Kindle format and paperback. I highly recommend this excellent time travel tale and am eagerly awaiting the publication of book 2.