Author: Erin Bartels
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A story of learning to trust.
Fourteen year old, Robin Windsor, finds herself living with her estranged grandmother in Sussex, Michigan, after her parents are arrested for unthinkable crimes, leaving Robin feeling lost and abandoned. She soon meets Peter Flynt, who recently lost his mother. Peter and Robin develop a unique friendship. Through a shared love of books, they bond, as he gives her his mother’s books and she repays him with her poetry. After a series of unfortunate events, including her grandmother’s death, Robin feels betrayed by Peter and runs away. After returning to Sussex years later, Robin opens a used bookstore and tries to recreate her life, while still hiding her true self, ashamed of her past. She reconnects with a high school friend who encourages her to stretch out of her comfort zone, and maybe even attempt to have a romance. Robin begins receiving packages in the mail containing Peter’s mother’s book collection, which she returned after her grandmother’s death. She knows that Peter is reaching out to her. Also, Robin begins to uncover the truth about her parents’ crimes, which she isn’t sure what to do with. As she searches for truth, she reconciles her past with her future. In the end, Robin discovers that the truth is powerful and that there are good people in the world that she can trust.
This book switches back and forth between grown Robin and a youthful Robin, allowing the reader to see and understand her past and how it has created the person she is today.
I have mixed emotions after finishing this book. I feel like the beginning was a series of negative events, with no redemption, or bright places for Robin. She is a tragic character, like she reads about in her books. Peter tries to draw her out, but it lacks a lightness, which didn’t inspire me to become enthralled in the book. She kept her guard up through much of the book. The second half was lighter and good things begin to happen to Robin, despite her efforts to hide and be invisible. Even though so many parts of Robin’s life are tragic and she suffers many losses, she overcomes, and is able to reconcile many of the hurts caused by her parents. She is able to regain trust in people. I feel like this book, like Robin in her youth, lacked an emotional depth that would have made it better. I liked seeing Robin both in her youth and as an adult, striving to overcome. I like that this book ends with the idea that Robin will have her “happily ever after” allowing her to let go of the heartbreaks of her youth and start again. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the beauty of a book or who loves a happy ending.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.