Monday, February 25, 2019

Lindsay Harrel: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

By Kelly Bridgewater

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancĂ©, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Some Contemporary Romance bores me to tears. Predictable plot. Not original idea. You always know how the story is going to end. That is why I usually don't pick up this type of genre. But I have found some that I enjoy. Becky Wade. Deborah Raney. Beth K. Vogt. I have tried Lindsey Harrel's second novel, The Heart Between Us, and it wasn't my taste at all. But her third novel, The Secrets of Paper and Ink, sounded interesting, so I took another chance for Harrel to change my mind.

Harrel does have a good grasp on how to write a novel. She understands the mechanics of writing a good story. She does have her characters transform by the end of the novel, which I believe is the most important aspect to writing a good novel.

But . . . the plot didn't really wow me. I did enjoy watching Sophie travel to London where she decided to take a journey of self-discovery. She needed to learn how to move on from an abusive relationship and learn to find herself again. I did enjoy how Harrel created a wonderful book addict in Sophie, which resounded with me. Being an avid bookworm, I could empathize with her completely as she flipped through the number of books and wanted to help Ginny with her bookstore and her broken relationship. While there are two contemporary timelines, Harrel added a historical backstory that Sophie tries to solve by the novels end. I actually liked the historical story better than the contemporary ones.

A contemporary romance has a predictable romance where two characters meet and overcome obstacles where they decide, usually, to spend the rest of their lives together. In this novel, nothing different from this plan. William and Sophie follow the path to love by the end of the novel. They have a shared love of books.

Overall, The Secrets in Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel might be right up the alley for fans of Contemporary Romance but the predictability of the story and the three point of views didn't really grasp my attention. I think fans of Robin Lee Hatcher, Melissa Tagg, Kara Issac, and Becky Wade might enjoy the novel.

I received a complimentary copy of The Secrets in Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About the Author:
From Amazon

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and--of course--writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter. (Taken from Amazon.)

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