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Oct 8, 2019

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

The Words Between Us: A Novel by Erin Bartels
Revell Baker Publishing, September 3 2019
Women's Fiction, Christian Fiction
Review copy from the publisher, thank you!

Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family's ignominious past. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels. When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book--a first edition Catcher in the Rye--is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again? With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine. 

The Words Between Us is one of those stories that grabs you more and more the further you go and then you are sorry when it is over. The multiple timelines of Robin's story blend easily together as the story unfolds and Robin finally comes to terms with the events that changed her life as a teenager. Losing her parents to a life of crime, Robin attempts to start over with a new name in a new town at a new high school but nothing comes easy to Robin. She is a lovable character, her teenaged dramas and immature views even as an adult helping to make this an endearing novel. The bonus and most unique aspect of the novel is the way books are a very important part of the plot.

This is a character driven novel, but it also includes the classic books as a character as well. They evoke the nostalgia of us all, reminding us how the written word can help form relationships in our real world. I enjoyed the romance, the intriguing mobster plot, the old man Dave DeWitt proving humanity is not a lost art. The Professor also a fantastic character -- so many great things to this novel! Well done for a sophomore novelist, now it is time for me to read Erin Bartels' first novel We Hope For Better Things.

Favorite quote: "The end of a friendship - a true and soul-stirring friendship - is a terrible thing."

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