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What is this book about?

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.

My review:

This book was difficult to read and if I had known about the triggers, I would not have signed up to review it.

Let me start with the positive. I read The Words Between Us (loved it!), also by this author, and her writing style is almost poetic. The descriptions really make the reader feel like they are experiencing the setting first hand. The narration was unusual in that it was almost a memoir style written to another character.

Now the negative: The story bounced between present and past but not very cohesively. I liked the German translator for his personality but the way he showed up and was used in the story was strange. I could not connect with any of the characters, including Kendra.

I don’t typically read books with trigger warnings. This story was dark and dealt with child molesting and other sex crimes. It also contained a lot of references to drinking and included a sex/rape scene. While this book is not marketed specifically as a “Christian” fiction, it is published by a Christian publisher so readers naturally expect it to be. This book is NOT Christian fiction.

Most importantly I felt that there was a real missed opportunity with this story – the opportunity to share God’s healing power for victims of assault. This is what Christian fiction (and publishers) should do best.

What I enjoyed most about this book:

The poetic narrative.

What I didn’t like about this book:

Trigger warnings.

Would I recommend this book to others? No. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the story was told well enough to get past the triggers. This is a standalone story.

Note: I received this book complimentary as a participant in the Revell blog tour. I was not required to give a positive review. All of the opinions I have expressed here are my own.

Where can I learn more about this author and their books?

Erin Bartels, author website

-Loraine Nunley

The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels (2 out of 5 stars) #amreading #BookReview #TheGirlWhoCouldBreatheUnderWater Click To Tweet

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels

  1. I agree with you. It should have come with trigger warnings. And the missed opportunity to share the Gospel was dissatisfying.

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