If I wouldn’t have seen the long list of this author’s books, I would have honestly thought that Indiana Belle is his debut novel. Not because of the storyline, but because of the writing style. The story is nice and cohesive, most of the characters’ portraits are sturdy enough to be credible, but the writing technique has something so… naive that it gives you the impression that the author just started his writing experience and that he’s trying to follow all the rules taught in school.
The main downside is that even for a time-traveling story, there are some aspects that just seemed either forced or not enough developed, so be prepared to swallow your frustration about this and just move on with the story. Despite this, I enjoyed the book: it has this nice, relaxed vibe, sweet and light like a lazy summer day, without any drama, stress or conflict. The world building is absolutely wonderful. The author throws you straight into the 1920s and colors the life there in bright, clear colors. I felt like the side characters were contributing even more to this, giving you a glimpse into the people’s mentality back then.
What drove me crazy was just the way the characters were oftentimes addressed. I understand the wish of avoiding repetition when referring to the same characters again and again, but expressions like “the rhode islander”, “the time traveler”, “the society editor” somehow put distance between the reader and the protagonists and after a while become annoying.
I didn’t connect in any way with Cameron, the book’s hero but I blame it more on the fact that I deeply hate the insta-love. And in his case, the concept is even more absurd: he falls in love with… a photo 😑 At least Candice has a more natural reaction and overall, her personality is more bubbly and charming. And as I mentioned before, even if their appearances are kind of episodic, I found almost all the secondary characters extremely well portrayed and their actions are a great addition to the whole 1920s picture.
Although the storyline flows pretty much without a major or breathtaking conflict, here and there, there will be some chapters that are breaking the rhythm and make the whole plot more entertaining. I personally loved the chapter from the far future and to be honest, I would have loved to see the story continuing in that era. It was an awesome and totally unexpected turn and it offered some extra flavor to the whole novel.
Indiana Belle is the third book in the American Journey series, but each novel can be read independently. I haven’t read the first two novels yet but I didn’t feel there were any missing points or that I skipped any connections with the previous two books.