Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

About the Book

Title: The Secrets of Paper and Ink  
Author: Lindsay Harrel  
Genre: Women’s Fiction  
Release date: February 26, 2019  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson   

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 fiancĂ©, 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.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

The Secrets of Paper and Ink – a delightful novel with a clever title that leads to a most pleasurable reading experience! This story, by new-to-me author Lindsay Harrel, has three elements that I greatly love – the genre is women’s fiction (with a dual timeline), the setting is British (Cornwall, England), and bookish elements are woven throughout (cozy bookshop, references to classics, and a most appealing literature professor). This well-written story drew me in from the first page and I wish for more like it in the Christian fiction genre.

“If we give up hope, we'll never discover the ocean
of possibility spread before us, or what it could hold."

The Secrets of Paper and Ink is a story of hope, grace, and healing, both emotional and spiritual. The characters are flawed and so easily relatable. Sophia and Ginny become friends almost instantly, soon discovering a shared past of broken relationships. I easily imagined myself in Ginny’s bookshop in Cornwall and became invested in her desire to save it. Sophia’s discovery of Emily’s journals added even more richness to the story. Emily, who also lived in Cornwall 150 years earlier, had a passion to write at a time when it wasn’t acceptable for a woman to be published, at least under her own name. I loved the creative way Emily’s story connected with the present-day characters.

The author handles themes of abuse and infidelity with skill and effectiveness, bringing a touch of realism to the lingering effects, guilt, self-blame, and denial. At its heart, this is a story of hope, grace, and second chances. The conclusion is great, with a few surprise twists along the way. I look forward to more of Lindsay Harrel’s writing.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

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 LindsayHarrel.com.

Guest Post from Lindsay

With every book I write, it seems God has something new to teach me. That certainly was true of The Secrets of Paper and Ink. 

Lately, I am learning more and more about the power of our words. I’ve become more conscious of the words I speak over myself as well as what I say to other people. It’s more than “positive thinking”—the words we say ultimately contribute to the stories we weave, and I want my story to be as positive and hope-filled as possible, regardless of my circumstances. 

I’ve also become much more aware of the lies that I tell myself—“you are not worthy, you are not enough, you will never achieve what you want to achieve”—and the need to replace those lies with the truths that God says about me. I have listened to Lauren Daigle’s song You Say on repeat lately, and it has become a theme not just of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, but one in the story of my very life. 

So while I may not have experienced everything my characters have—I’ve never suffered emotional abuse, or been ostracized by my family, or been orphaned and alone in a world that seems against me at every turn—I have learned alongside them. I set out to write a book that would draw readers closer to the true healer and hope giver, and I ended up being drawn closer myself. 

And that, to me, is the true power of story.


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

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

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 26
The Power of Words, February 26
Carla Loves To Read, February 26
Blogging With Carol, February 27
Carpe Diem, February 28
Andy Carmichael, March 1
The Becca Files, March 2
Emily Yager, March 3
Genesis 5020, March 4
Stories By Gina, March 4
Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, March 5
Remembrancy, March 6
Pause for Tales, March 7
Book by Book, March 7
The Lit Addict, March 9
Bigreadersite, March 10
Henry Happens, March 11
amandainpa , March 11


  1. Sounds like a heart moving story what with Emily's journals involved. Vivian furbay jtandviv (at) q (dot) com

  2. I have heard so much about Lindsay Harrel. I am hoping to win this book. I would love to read both of her books!