Author: Erin Bartels
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Robin Windsor has spent much of her life under an assumed name to avoid association with her infamous parents. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary running her used bookstore in quiet River City, Michigan. But 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 summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. Why would Peter be making contact now? 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.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels is one of those novels that sweeps you up into a world that feels so real it is hard to believe it is fiction. From the opening sentence, "Most people only die once, but my father is not most people" you are hooked.
The author has brilliantly merged the past and the present of her main character, Robin Windsor. We learn how Robin's life was suddenly turned upside down by her parents as a teenager and how it all converges in the present to bring the story to a satisfying ending.
This story had so many layers. From the classic works of fiction that provide an escape for Robin. To the "words in-between" the pages of those books (what a fitting title for this book). Even the fact that she works in a bookstore seems so appropriate and right - so satisfying. Lovers of books, in general, will instantly connect with this character.
One thing that seemed to be missing for me, since this was a Christian book, was the mention of God. I was 80% through the book when suddenly faith and church were discussed, briefly, in chapter 33. While the story did have a theme of forgiveness, the opportunity to bring God into it, along with the theme of redemption, was a missed opportunity, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, this book will speak to book lovers everywhere and will leave you with an urge to read some old classics or take a trip to your favourite bookstore.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group through NetGalley.
Reviewer: Nora St. Laurent
I was hooked from the first sentence, “Most people only die once. But my father is not most people. He is a monster.”
I instantly cared for Robin Windsor and her situation, as the novel starts out in current time with Norman Windsor on death row for something his daughter Robin couldn’t imagine him doing. She was a teenager when her life blows up with no hope of recovery.
The media had a field day chasing her down for information. She is trying to hide in plain sight. It’s difficult because her father was a Senator. But when Robin is sent to a small town in Michigan to live with her Grandmother, she finds a glimmer of hope. It’s there she meets Peter a soon to be Senior at a high school they both will attend. She learns Peter’s mother was an English teacher who loved the classics. Robin and Peter become fast friends when he starts giving her a book from his mother’s classic book stash. He reads it first. Then she does and writes him a poem in return as payment for the book. The poems give hints as to who Robin is and where she’s come from. All’s well until an incident happens that surprised everyone in River City, Michigan including Robin.
This is an engaging story as the author seamlessly blends present and past events in order for the reader and Robin to solve the mystery of why her parents are in prison. This author is creative in all the things Robin has gone through to live a “normal” life. Here’s a peek inside Robin’s thinking…”I went home that day feeling that maybe it would all work out. I didn’t have to live the rest of my days as a side show to my parents - three-ring crime circus. I could write myself a new story. I would be Robin Dickenson, orphan with a heart of gold. And I would give myself a happy ending.”
I also loved how the author had Robin work in a bookstore. I felt her passion for the written word. Having worked at a bookstore I could feel Robin’s struggle when someone asks about a book. “What is that one about?”…”There is always a pause after this question as I quickly attempt to encapsulate an entire novel in a one or two sentences….It’s not easy. Each time, when I hear what comes out of my mouth – so inadequate, so small compared to what I had experienced while reading – I feel like I’ve snatched the story from the author’s hands and trampled it underfoot.”…
I too feel there is so much more to the story than what I’ve mentioned. Grin! I highly recommend this novel for your next book club pick and one you should add to your reading list. It’s a coming of age story intermingled with a mystery, characters I cared about and ones I didn’t trust. The author has a good insight and character discussions about relationships, forgiveness and classic novels.
Warming, you’ll be burning the midnight oil reading this one. I couldn’t put it down. This author is one to watch!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”