About the Book
Book: The Bright Unknown
Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Two young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.
The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.
However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.
This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.
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When I found out Elizabeth Byler Younts had written another book, I knew I had to read it. Her book The Solace of Water was phenomenal; it’s the one I recommend to everyone who asks for a book recommendation. In comes The Bright Unknown. Sign me up! I know it’s going to be great. And oh my goodness was I right. This book is a sensory experience. The words come alive. They dance through your senses in every way possible. The “xylophone of sounds” create a rhythm you can’t help but dance to. The depth of the characters, their attunement to the deepest parts of their soul, is both horrifyingly painful and beautiful at the same time. Ms. Younts has a way of writing chapter endings that entices you to read just one more before returning to life as you know it. The story pulls you like a dog pulls its owner on a leash, unwilling to let you slow down, begging you to hold on for dear life. You find yourself in the pages of this book; in between the lines, inside the characters’ hearts and souls. Younts beautifully incapsulates humanity and our depravity, our brokenness and our longing for wholeness, relationship, and to be seen. Rarely do I underline anything in a fiction book. But I sat reading this book with a pen in my hand. This is a book to keep on the shelf, to revisit, to find pieces of your lost or hiding self in. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I’d give it 10 if I could. Younts is an author to follow. I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author
Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.
More from Elizabeth
The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.
That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.
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