There are past events in the lives of almost all of us we wish we could change – especially if the event was tragic, resulting in the death of someone we loved. Such trauma leads to soul-searching, trying to find a reason that makes sense of something that strikes us as senseless. Portals, at its core, explores a simple question: If I could change the past, would I? It sounds like a simple question. As the novel reveals, it isn’t. Wrapped up in the eight small words encompassing this question is the sum of our personal world view, the lens through which we interpret the world around us. Key to our perspective is what we believe-or don’t believe-about God. If we believe we are a product of time and chance working the miracle of life upon the material universe unguided, then how we respond to the question might be quite different from someone who contends that a loving God is actively concerned with our personal welfare? in spite of any appearance to the contrary.

For Jesse, the question is no longer rhetorical. His wife, Ellen, drowned in Stillman’s Lake when the two were celebrating their sixth anniversary . Now, three years later, Jesse is given a chance to go back and change the events of that fateful day. As with our own, Jesse’s world is made up of other people, each with his or her personal world view. Each with his or her own perspective on the questions we all have about where we came from, why we’re here and what the future may hold. It is through the hearts, minds, experiences, words and actions of these other individuals – some close to Jesse and others of more casual acquaintance – that Portals gives an opportunity to explore the merits of the varied opinions.

41GHfOMWA2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_This is the second book review where I actually know the author, and it’s fun to match the person I know in real life against their body of work. In the case of Portals by Michael Kimball, his work reflects his personality. He’s a master storyteller and I found that to be true of his writing in Portals. He paints a beautiful picture on page one full of imagery and emotion, and he doesn’t let up. There are a lot of emotions and thought-provoking issues to dwell on long past the last page of Portals, and Michael does a great job telling the story, painting the scene, and leaving the reader with a vivid emotional experience.

My writer’s eye picked up on minor dialogue and editing issues that a seasoned critique group would be helpful, but in no way as a reader do those items take away from the storytelling aspect of Portals that I enjoyed so much.

If you enjoy a haunting, thought-provoking novel that makes you think long after the last page, I definitely recommend Portals.

To purchase Portals, please click here.

I received a PDF from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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2 Thoughts to “Book Review: Portals by Michael Kimball”

  1. What an encouragement it is for me, Julie, to gain such a positive review of Portals. I’m now working on the next novel and hope to finish before summer’s end.

    As an expression of thanks, I’ve set up a special discount code at the Longings End Book Store so your readers can enjoy getting their own copy of Portals in the eBook format of their choice absolutely free through the month of February. All they need to do is use the discount code JULIE during checkout and the price will be reduced to $0.

    Warm regards,


  2. Thank you, Michael! That is so generous. I’ll make sure readers know and take advantage! Best wishes on the next novel!

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