Author: Erin Bartels
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 4, 2022
The best fiction simply tells the truth.
But the truth is never simple.
When novelist Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather's old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend's brother--and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book. If she can prove that she told the truth about what happened during those long-ago summers, perhaps she can put the letter's claims to rest and meet the swiftly approaching deadline for her next book.
But what she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. While facing Tyler isn't easy, facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she's ever had to do.
Plumb the depths of the human heart with this emotional exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.
Reviewer: Beverly Laude
"Did you ever consider that antagonists have stories of their own?" Kendra Brennan is a newly published author and has to meet a deadline for her second book. But, a letter from A Very Disappointed reader has her wondering if she can write another book.
She returns to the place of her fondest (and worst) memories, her grandfather's cabin at Hidden Lake, hoping to find answers and confront her demons. The arrival of a German translator disrupts her plan for peace and quiet but also brings some unexpected feelings.
During her summer at the Lake, Kendra has the chance to confront her best friend's brother, Tyler, and try to find out if her memories are true. Also, she learns more about her father, whom she has never known, and tries to come to terms with the loss of her friendship with Cami Rainier. The more Kendra discovers, the more her writing begins to emerge as she deals with her past.
The book is beautifully written, with vivid descriptions and layers of emotion throughout. It was a fast read and kept my interest from the opening sentence to the end.
This book was published by a Christian publisher, but it is not a typical Christian book. There are only a few passing references to God, and there is nothing "preachy" about the book. But, it does explore several Christian attributes, like family, love, friendship, and (especially) forgiveness.
This book should have a trigger warning since it deals with sexual abuse. The descriptions of the abuse are very vague and non-graphic but could bring up unwanted feelings for some readers. At the end of the book, the author's notes reveal that, just like Kendra, Ms. Bartels has written a book based on her experience with abuse. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author since this was such an emotional and heartfelt book that was very well written.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell) through Interviews and Reviews.
Reviewer: Paul Shreckhise
After reading the author notes, I was prepared for some trigger situations. It seemed like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and I had a lot of trepidation while reading most of the book. This story seems to be a catharsis for the author. Putting that aside, it was very well written with some beautiful descriptive passages: “ As I brushed through the tall grass and wildflowers, a flood of familiar smells- wet sand and crushed mint and something sweet I have never been able to identify- washed over me in gentle lapping waves of memory.”
This was a thought provoking book: “Truth has a way of working itself into any story, whether the writer means it or not.” It also was a great glimpse into the writing process of the main character, Kendra, an author who had a best seller and is trying to write book #2. There was a mysterious aspect in that Kendra was trying to find out who had written her a letter signed A Very Disappointed Reader. Several mysteries unfold as we get to know the characters.
My favorite characters were Ike, an old WWII veteran who told many stories and dispensed wisdom and Andreas, who was translating Kendra’s book into German. Andreas provided a stabilizing influence on Kendra in her search for truth. Kendra had to find answers to many questions in order to re-establish relationships and define who she really was and move forward. In the end it was a tender love story and a tale of healing.
I would consider this to be a moderately clean read with some possible triggers for those who are sensitive to such. It was not written from a clear Christian perspective.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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