Sunday, March 3, 2019

Review: "The Secrets of Paper and Ink" by Lindsay Harrel

First of all, can we talk about how gorgeous this cover is? It drew me in the first moment I saw it. Happily, the words inside are just as beautiful as that cover 😊.

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

Genre: Women's Fiction
Release Date: February 26, 2019

I knew it was coming. When I flipped the page and saw the words "epilogue" and "Emily," I knew how the story would wrap up. And I immediately burst into tears. To me, that's the mark of a great read: I'm so emotionally engaged that I tear up before the "thing," be it good or bad, happy or sad, happens.

The Secrets of Paper and Ink is a split-time novel that tells the stories of three women in Cornwall, England: Sophia, a woman still trying to work through the pain her deceased fiancé left behind; Ginny, a bookstore owner struggling to keep the business afloat following her husband's abandonment; and Emily, a governess living in the mid 1800's who dreams of a life and love beyond her station. Their stories collide when Sophia rents a room from Ginny and discovers a notebook that contains Emily's story. Together with Ginny's brother-in-law William, the women set out to learn more about Emily's life ... and they discover healing, forgiveness, and love in the process.

This is a beautifully-written novel all about courage: the courage to let go of the past, to forgive, and to move forward. I loved reading each woman's story (though I must admit to being partial to Emily's), watching her grow, change, and become the woman God made her to be.

Some elements of the story were a bit predictable, but in this case, that didn't bother me, as the twists were just how I would have written them if I were the author 🙂.

This book is tailor-made for bibliophiles, as it's set in a bookstore, features a journey to publication, and references many beloved British novels! The hours I spent reading The Secrets of Paper and Ink were some of the most enjoyable reading hours I've had in a while. Highly recommended! 5 stars.

Buy the book.

Follow the blog tour:
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 26
The Avid Reader, February 26
The Power of Words, February 26
Carla Loves To Read, February 26
Blogging With Carol, February 27
Inspirationally Ever After, February 27
Kristin’s Book Reviews, February 27
Real World Bible Study, February 28
Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, February 28
Carpe Diem, February 28
A Baker’s Perspective, March 1
Andy Carmichael, March 1
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 1
Bibliophile Reviews, March 2
The Becca Files, March 2
Just Your Average reviews, March 2
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 3
Emily Yager, March 3
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3
Genesis 5020, March 4
Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 4
Stories By Gina, March 4
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 5
Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, March 5
Remembrancy, March 6
Through the Fire Blogs, March 6
Inklings and Notions, March 6
Just the Write Escape, March 7
Pause for Tales, March 7
Book by Book, March 7
Living Life Free in Christ, March 8
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8
To Everything A Season, March 8
The Lit Addict, March 9
Texas Book-aholic, March 9
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9
Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 10
Janices book reviews, March 10
Bigreadersite, March 10
Henry Happens, March 11
Godly Book Reviews, March 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, March 11
amandainpa , March 11


To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a copy of her first book The Heart Between Us!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Haven't read this one, but love seeing all the good reviews/thoughts for it. Hopefully I'll add it to my shelf soon. :)

    1. It's my first by Lindsay, and I just loved it! I'm sure you'll enjoy it, too :-)


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