BookLook Bloggers Review: The Space Between Words by Michele Pheonix

Synopsis:

“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.

“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.

“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?

 

Facts:

  • This book was published by Thomas Nelson
  • It released on September 5th, 2017
  • It’s 336 pages
  • I got it free from Harper Collins BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for a review. (thanks!) My thoughts are my own, as always.
  • Here are a couple places you can buy it or learn more: Goodreads | Amazon | Thomas Nelson

 

Cons:

  • The point of this book– the very reason I requested to review this book– was not the people-centric story of survival and hope. Those are great additions. I don’t typically read stories where those are the main plot points and motivations. I got this book solely for the 1600s Antique French Document that they supposedly translate.

    Why did I do that?

    Because I actually own a document, written in Middle French, from 1680. I’ve stared at that thing for hours, trying to decipher, punched every variation of the word I think I’m seeing into Google Translate, and… nothing. Nada. I’ve managed half a sentence (which is about a marble table from the Palace, I think) in about six months. SIX MONTHS.

    Want to guess how long it took Jessica and Grant took to translate an entire sheaf of papers? Maybe 6 hours. Maybe less.  It’s kind of overnight. And there’s no puzzle, no questions. Nothing that will, in the slightest, help me translate mine. I am super disappointed.

    Maybe Michele Pheonix would be willing to assist me in this and have hands-on experience translating a French document from 1680. That would be awesome.

  • *laughs maniacally* Okay. So, I’ve also done a fair bit of genealogy. You know, the kind where you sort through old documents (online, so far) and you squint and try to read them and nobody had the pretty handwriting from the era so it’s impossible to read, IF you can even find what you’re looking for. While the characters aren’t into genealogy, they do go on a sort of quest to find information about the sister/ family of the French woman who wrote the letters.
    … And they find it. Right away.
    Haha. People are interested in what they’re doing and willing to help (ha), the one place they go happens to have a will that’s preserved, legible, and available for them to look at (ha).
    They set off randomly, without doing all the online research first, and happen to go to the exact right place, which is absolutely bogus. People have artifacts they’re willing to let them borrow, buy, and destroy. That’s not how finding information about people who lived over three hundred years ago actually works.
    How does it actually work? NO ONE CARES about your research. No one. Not the museum people, not the artifact hunters. No one cares. They politely do not care, but they aren’t going to help you with research, and they certainly aren’t going to happen to find that one thing and tell you about it when you show up.
  • *Spoiler*
    So I get that Jess has PTSD. I get that. But it would have been a nice gesture for her to experience a tiiiiiiny bit of lucidity somewhere while she thinks Patrick is alive. Maybe she should remember she’s driving, or look around and he’s gone for a second. But she never does, and one day she wakes up and he’s dead and he’s been dead all this time and it’s a cheap punch in the reader’s gut.
  • The Romance is lame. It’s not that I think it’s done badly, it’s just not done at all. They’re hanging out, and then BAM THEY ARE IN LOVE AND BY GOLLY ALL IS WELL IN THE WORLD. It seemed like another cheap token of how everything (except being shot, you know) works out perfectly for Jess.

 

240_360_book-2340-cover

Pros:

  • Um. Hmm.
  • It’s pretty.
  • The Dialogue was realistic.
  • While it’s not a terrible book, it’s also not good. It’s kind of boring, takes a long time to get anywhere, isn’t realistic, and takes cheap emotional punches.
  • I really liked the idea of a story where an old document, hidden in a sewing desk, takes the characters on an adventure, especially since I thought the book might help me work through my antique manuscript. It didn’t, and I’m disappointed and sad.

 

My rating: 2.5 stars

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