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The Secrets of Paper and Ink ~ Review

The Secrets of Paper and Ink
By Lindsay Harrel

Sophia Barrett is trying to heal from the pain of the past - a past that ended with the death of her fiance. Her escape from the pain and stress is indulging in the works of her favorite author Robert Appleton. The healing she was sure had come was shattered when she has a session with a patient whose current situation reawakens her own hurt. At the suggestion of her boss and best friend, Sophia takes more time away to complete heal and deal with everything. A summer away in Cornwall, England the setting of her favorite books seems the ideal way to distance herself from all the reminders of what was.

Ginny Rose has spent the last five years in Cornwall as a wife and bookshop owner but with her husband's need for time alone she has had to shoulder the burden of running a shop that was her husband's dream. With the economic downturn and the lack of tourists, the shop is teetering on the edge. Determined to save her husband's dream and to be successful despite her naysaying parents Ginny does whatever she can to make money - even taking in a short-term renter.

As Ginny and Sophia each work through their losses they form a friendship that is about to lead to much more. With Sophia pitching in at the bookshop Ginny finally sees hope that she may be able to not only survive but make the shop successful. Helping Ginny organize the multitude of books hidden away in the back Sophia discovers a notebook that tells the story of Emily Fairfax, a young woman who must rebuild her life following the death of her father.

Emily's story touches Sophia and sends her on a journey of discovery. But her search has her accepting the assistance of Ginny's brother-in-law who just happens to share Sophia's love of books. But how do you find someone who may have lived more that one hundred and fifty years ago with just a name and general idea of time and place? Sophia is embarking on a search that may very well offer her the answers she needs so that she can move beyond the was of her life to the could be that lays before her.

First off this is a wonderful blend of 3 distinct lives that on their own could have been a story that the reader could connect with but when told together become something more. I really felt Emily's portion was what gave the book the extra touch that makes it something special. Her strength of character and perseverance gives hope to those who later discovered her story.

I will admit I now want to read the Robert Appleton books that so comforted Sophia, alas I fear that is not to be. This book is perfect for those who can't decide between historical or contemporary fiction as it offers both. Emily's portion takes place in the 1850s and 1860s while Sophia and Ginny's story takes place in the present day. Each chapter is clearly identified as to whose story thread is being followed so there is no need to worry about getting lost during the reading.  Fans of Rachel Hauck and Kristy Cambron's writing style will enjoy The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook bloggers with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Brought together by a charming bookstore in England, three women fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.
As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature.
Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance.
Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch.
Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

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~ Blooming with Books