Title: The Words Between Us
Author: Erin Bartels
“I promise I won’t tell a soul. You can trust me, Robin Dickinson,” the fearful young teen with a hidden past is told in Erin Bartels’s novel, The Words Between Us.
~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-four-page paperback targets those interested in a young girl’s struggle with identity, trust, and relationships. With no profanity but the use of slang words such as slut, hell week, and heck, topics of adultery, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments, an excerpt of the author’s prior novel, her biography, and advertisements.
In this story written in first person in chapters that fluctuate between past and present tense, fourteen-year-old Robin tries to live a life of secrets when both her high-profile parents are sent to prison. Sent to live with her grandmother and persnickety African Grey parrot, she meets high school senior, Peter, and they develop a deep friendship based on famous authors. As the book progresses, Robin is eighteen years older and still stuck in a circle of regret, loss, and shame as she slowly unpeels her past while being protected by her financially-struggling bookstore.
~ Why ~
Writing from first person in both past and present tense with decades apart that grow closer toward the end, the author does a fine job describing a resilient protagonist who grows up untrusting, second-guessing, and assuming as she determinedly escapes her family’s past. The interwoven inserted novels shared between Robin and Peter are the glue of their relationship that gets torn apart due to misunderstandings. I appreciate that forgiveness is the key to accepting others.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of a somewhat self-absorbed individual being forced to grow up due to unwitting circumstances and accepting one’s lot in life may not appreciate this book. Others may not care for the little references about God or eternal salvation that provides permanent peace and happiness. Some may feel disappointed the ending was rushed.
I wish more references of relying on God were included, all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence, and no slang words were included. Adding discussion questions at the end would be thoughtful for book clubs.
~ Want ~
If you are an avid book reader of the classics and enjoy a coming of age story that is dealt with decades later, this is a lovely read that promotes honesty and forgiveness.
Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2LcTlBs