The author has offered to give away a print copy of the book (US ONLY). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends March 8, 2019. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.)
How the story came to be written...
The first “story spark” for The Secrets of Paper and Ink came when I watched PBS’s show Poldark. I saw the gorgeous scenery of Cornwall, England, and thought, “I absolutely must write a book set there.”
Around the same time, I heard a radio story about a bookstore in Scotland where you can rent an apartment above a bookstore in exchange for working in the store. Of course, I immediately wanted to go rent that apartment! But since I couldn’t (you know, because that costs money), I wrote about a character who did something similar.
I’ve written stories about mothers and daughters, and sisters, but had never really written one about friendship and how God can put people in our path we didn’t know we needed. So I set out to write just such a book.
The very first draft of the book actually didn’t have Emily (the 19th-century governess) in it at all! I started writing a very different story, but it just didn’t feel right. So I chucked the whole thing and went back to the drawing board. I’d been reading some books set in the 1800s during this time and had really fallen in love with the time period—but I was a bit terrified to write anything historical (What if I messed something up? Got something wrong? Used a word I shouldn’t have?). Still, I couldn’t let go of the idea. And that’s when Emily’s story just came to me. I actually sat down and wrote the entire historical thread in about a week or two.
Knowing her journey helped me to plot out what happened with Sophia and Ginny. I was then able to link all of their journeys together and figure out how they could all learn from each other.
Speaking of learning, I find that with every book, God teaches me something new. Throughout the writing of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, the theme of “story” kept coming back to my mind. The book obviously takes place in a bookstore, but the importance of story (and stories) in Sophia, Ginny, and Emily’s lives was even more than that. Figuring out what that meant exactly was not only part of their story, but mine as well. For me, it meant that my story (i.e., the story of my life) matters because God says it does—not because of what I achieve and not because of the labels others have put on me. And I think those things show in the characters’ journeys as well.
“I have always believed that everyone has a story to tell. Story is sprouting up all around us, if only we have eyes to see it. Story forms the fiber of our being, and story is what will remain when we are gone.”
“Something about the books, the stories—they spoke to her… Each one had something to say, and she longed to absorb the wisdom held in the secret places of each page. The ink soaked from the pages into her soul.”
I was excited to read this book. How could I not be when the main character loves books and runs a bookstore!
Sophia Barrett has yet to return to work after the death of her abusive fiancé, so she heads to Cornwall, England in hopes of finding herself again, and perhaps writing her own story. She rents a place that also provides her with a job working in a bookstore, which is perfect for Sophia, a literary lover.
Ginny Rose is struggling to keep Rosebud Books, the bookstore she co-owns with her estranged husband, afloat as she tries to figure out how to save her marriage. She’s hoping that Sophia will be able to help.
Emily Fairfax knew she wanted to be a published author, even though that dream (as well as a future with her best friend, whom she loved) was out of her reach.
Sophia finds Emily’s journals from over a hundred years ago among the donations at the bookstore, and Sophia is determined to uncover all she can about the mysterious woman.
Harrel’s sophomore debut weaves together the lives of these three women in this dual-timeline novel. It is a powerful story, with themes of friendship, healing, and forgiveness, as well as having the courage to tell your own story. There were some unexpected twists along the way. The historical aspects were well researched and done in a way that makes the reader feel transported back in time. Vivid details make it easy to get fully immersed in this gem.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to write a positive review.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her atwww.LindsayHarrel.com.
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