The Going Back Portal
By Connie Lacy
Genre: Time Travel Romance, Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
The past is a dangerous place in this fast-paced time travel novel…
Kathryn Spears is a skeptical producer for a TV investigative news team. So when her grandmother claims a Cherokee Indian woman is living on a neighboring farm, she dismisses it as early Alzheimer’s. Because, obviously, there is no farm nearby. Not in the present anyway. But when she follows Nana’s lead, Kathryn is transported back in time to the year 1840 where she finds a young Cherokee woman left behind when her family marched west on the Trail of Tears.
Forest Water is ensnared in a perilous struggle to keep her ancestral lands against a violent white man who claims the farm, and then claims her as well. Desperate to help her new friend, Kathryn becomes entangled in a battle between good and evil with much higher stakes than she imagines.
Each of these young women falls in love with a man from her own time, but there are threats, both seen and unseen, that could cost them their lives.
Up for review today is “The Going Back Portal” by Connie Lace; a time travel romance novel featuring Kathryn Spears, an investigative reporter who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, her grandmother, Nana, and Amadahy, a mysterious Cherokee woman.
Time travel is one of my favorite genres to read. There is just so much that can be done within the stories; within The Going Back Portal, Ms. Lacy certainly utilizes her artistic license in some fun and imaginative ways that depart from your typical time travel stories while addressing some heavy issues such as spousal abuse at the same time.
How does this story depart from other time travel stories? The most apparent difference is the ease in which her characters are able to move back and forth through time. You see, time travel in this story isn’t difficult to do. The characters have no special quality which allows them to move through time, they simply need to know the method that makes it possible to do so. In this story the method is…food. That’s certainly something new, but not just any food; one specific food from one specific magically endowed tree. But wait, it’s not just as simple as eating that food…the characters have to know where the portal to pass through time is as well. And that is exactly what Kathryn and her Nana literally stumble across. See, a unique aspect already. Apparently Nana has been stumbling in and out of it for a very long time and everyone has been attributing her wild tales to her dementia.
Truthfully, at first…I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the ease in which these characters traveled through time. The continual back and forth through time was a bit disconcerting for me initially; but, as I progressed I found I enjoyed it and that it actually added a level to the story itself. It was as if the time travel element became a character of its own; sometimes even a hero when the ability to slip through time became the tool that narrowly saved the lives of different characters.
I also found the buzzing sound they experienced a bit distracting. If you enjoy time travel stories then you’ll know exactly what series of books that buzzing sound will invoke in your memory. That sound description has become bit of a signature for that series; it’s synonymous with it now. Personally, I’d have liked Ms. Lacy to have used another mechanism to signal time-travel….unless of course she intended a subliminal comparison to that series. But I doubt that was her intention. I guess I would simply have preferred her make it more unique to this unique story, but maybe that’s just me being overly picky.
Over all I found this to be a very enjoyable story. It is well written, the characters are well developed. The story unfolds at a very good pace and it kept me turning the pages. I didn’t however find it to be much of a romance; it’s really more of a time travel fiction with a bit of romantic elements added in. The romance that blossoms between Kathryn and Eric and Degataga and Amadahy really takes a back seat to the main story of Kathryn and Amadahy.
So, if as a reader you are looking for a “romance” or anything steamy that will fog up your glasses or knock your socks off that isn’t what you will find here; this isn’t that type of story at all. Not that it is billed as a “bodice ripper” I don’t mean to imply that either. I just feel I need to point that out because many readers are conditioned to look for certain elements these days when they see “romance” in the genre.
What you will find in The Going Back Portal is a very well-crafted story that tackles some pretty hefty issues while weaving in plenty of historical and cultural factoids that this reader really enjoyed. Okay, maybe I found it that much more enjoyable because I’m very familiar with the area in which it takes place. My in-laws just so happen to be from Georgia, and live smack-dab in the middle of area outside of Athens, GA where Kathryn’s grandmother and Amadahy live in this story. But still, I enjoyed it and would have even if I weren’t familiar with the area.
So, would I recommend it? Absolutely, I would. It’s unique and it flows well with wonderful characters that are easy to relate to…what’s not to like? I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connie Lacy worked for many years as a radio reporter and news anchor after dabbling in acting in college and community theater. Those experiences show up in some of her novels.
She writes fast-paced stories featuring young women facing serious challenges set against the backdrop of some thorny issues. She writes time travel, magical realism, climate fiction and historical fiction.
Growing up, she lived in Japan and Okinawa where her Army dad was stationed. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a degree in Journalism and Creative Writing. She and her husband live in Atlanta.