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Now for the review:
The Land Beyond the Portal by J. S. Bailey
Laura is seeking to find herself. A bout of injury induced amnesia has left Laura clueless about everything but her first name. Stuck in an old house in the middle of a blizzard, she looks around the house trying to find anything she can about herself. When she gets to the basement she discovers a room below the basement. As she walks into the room an unknown force transports her to a warm summer day in the middle of a pasture.
She is discovered by a young boy who, with his sister, has wandered farther than he should have while exploring. As Laura enters what appears to be a quaint medieval village she begins a journey that moves from trying to discover her own identity to unlocking the mysteries of the village. She is taken in by the village’s benevolent leader, only to find that many do not see him as benevolent as the rumors start flying about him. The rumor mill appears to be an attempt to replace him. The villagers talk in glowing terms of their deity, but underneath their praise is a strong measure of fear. What happened to the village leader’s boy who disappeared years ago? What happened to his daughter who disappears at the festival in honor of the village deity? As Laura seeks to unlock those mysteries, and prove that the village leader didn’t murder his missing daughter she also has the seemingly impossible task of finding her way back home.
As the book concludes, all of the loose ends are tied together as Laura and the other time travelers lead their friends to discover the truth behind the village deity, the ugly rumors about the village leader and how people are traveling in time. They also discover the location where the daughter had been spirited away, uncover the mystery of the missing son and ultimately who Laura really is.
Bailey sets an amazing web of confusion in this book that ultimately resolves satisfactorily in the end. One of the best messages that I got from this book is the reminder that God is present wherever and whenever you might be. Another time traveler reminds Laura of her love of the true God and under the power of prayer they embark together on some dangerous journeys seeking to solve the mysteries. Some of the people whom Laura thought she could trust turned out to be involved with the evil influence in the land and others turn out to be quite different and more helpful than they first appear.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It has good characterization and the descriptions of the valley where the village is located make you feel like you are actually there. Even more than that though is a story line that draws you in and makes you wonder what will happen next. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop reading until I was finished. If you’re looking for a fun read that touches on suspense, hints at the paranormal and even includes science fiction, this is a book you will love.