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.
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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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
“But I am ready to find those buried souls and love them and remind anyone who will listen that the invisible still exist.”
Every once in a while, an author comes along who transforms the genre with work that is exquisitely written and original. This is one of the most exciting moments for book reviewers, finding a diamond among the other gems. There are few Christian books that I choose to review that I end up truly not liking, but even so, certain ones sincerely rise above the rest. Elizabeth Younts’ “The Bright Unknown” definitely makes this exceptional list.
From the moment I began reading, I found myself mesmerized. Drawn into the life of the protagonist, Brighton, I was immediately absorbed and became more emotionally engaged with each page. Younts adeptly employs a dual timeline, recounting Brighton’s early life in the Riverside asylum in the early 1940s interspersed with scenes from her life at age 67. At first, the narrative projects a whimsical aura during Brighton’s adolescence, but the veil is removed early on, and the rest of the story exudes a sobering darkness. The author does not flinch away from the realities of twentieth-century mental asylums, yet relates them in a clean manner, demonstrating that unpleasant and even horrific happenings can be told without profanity or graphic detail. If there is one element that I would like to see changed, it would be to increase the faith aspect, which is subtle.
“The Bright Unknown” is haunting and will linger long after turning the final page, but not necessarily for the reasons that you might think. What makes this book shine is how thought-provoking it is. Instead of being outright terror-ridden like most asylum-based novels, this one lies more on the level of trauma. The trauma of losing one’s identity and the trauma of not knowing one’s identity in the first place. This story is rife with symbolism and layers of complexity. And I love that! The restraints are not always physical, but sometimes emotional as well. The characters’ psychological profiles drive the plot in more ways than one, entangling and interweaving them. Brighton’s situation is so unique and raises many questions regarding how we think about and relate to others, and what motivates us. I can’t say much without giving away plot points, but suffice it to say that “The Bright Unknown” resonates on a deep level because it speaks to our collective need to be known and loved. And the good news is that we are and always have been by the One who created us and who calls us into a relationship with Him, regardless of our circumstances.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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