To start, the characters are varied and well created. I liked Joel, with his cockiness, his charm, his sense of humour... I liked him. I liked Grace too, although I didn't relate as strongly with her as I did other characters. My favourite was Ginny. I just liked all there was that we find out about her.
I loved the plot too, the time travel theme seems to be cropping up in my recent books (totally unplanned), a very welcome change of pace. I think the way in which the time travel occurs too is rather unique, although still with some traditional elements tagging along. I think it was a good mix.
Where this book lost it's stars was in the predictability of the story. About 20% in I'd figured out what was going to happen. At about 30% in I'd figured out exactly what choices Joel would make (though perhaps not why) and also the ending. While this didn't detract from the overall story, it took away the surprise element, the unknown entity that is quite enjoyable about reading a new book. It made the book feel a bit cliche.
Where The Mine scored well was the richness of the description. At first I thought it might be a little too much, but as the story progressed, the rich description of the scenes and attire and everything else really helped to build the world that Joel found himself in. There were a number of times I felt I was standing in the scene, seeing it with my own eyes. The imagery is very vivid and comes alive on the page as you read.
For this reason alone, I would recommend this book to people looking for an interesting read. The romance, time travel and history aspects are secondary to that amazing talent!