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.

Click HERE to grab your copy!  

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.

My Review


“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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