I am delighted to welcome author Lindsay Harrel back to the blog today to chat about her new book The Secrets of Paper and Ink!
Brought together by a charming bookstore in England, three women fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.
As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature.
Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance.
Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch.
Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.
Fighting Back Against the Labels
When something bad or unwanted happens in our lives, it inevitably affects us.
It saddens us. Angers us. Makes us question…a lot. Lowers our self-esteem. Makes us consider life and what we really want from it.
Not all bad things, right?
But there’s another way we let unpleasant experiences affect us. They often begin to define us. I know I have struggled with giving myself labels, like:
Not good enough
These labels don’t just begin to define me, but affect my entire perspective. Because when I’m focused on my failures—and how they make me feel so utterly wretched—then I’m not allowing God to use me effectively. I’m self-centered. I don’t see others’ needs, because I’m too worried about how I’m perceived.
What if, instead of allowing ourselves to be defined by our circumstances, we simply allowed ourselves to be shaped by them? To let ourselves learn from them, grow closer to our Lord because of them? Become more like Jesus because of them?
What if, instead, we found our identity—our definition—in something that would never change?
In The Secrets of Paper and Ink, all three women struggle with this concept to a degree. Sophia is a domestic violence counselor who became an abuse victim herself. Ginny is living someone else’s dream despite years of trying to please her parents. And Emily, a nineteenth-century governess, is trying to make it in the world as an orphan with one goal: to become an author in a time when women weren’t encouraged to do so. Anything less would be failure in her eyes.
Just like each one of us, these characters have to find a way to move past the labels they give themselves and the lies they’ve been told about who they are. Because we can never move into the light of the future if we are shackled to the past, and we can never find the truth if we are allowing lies to restrain us.
Your Turn: How do you fight back against the labels you’ve given yourself and that others have given you?
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 www.LindsayHarrel.com.
Lindsay Harrel is giving away a signed, paperback copy of The Secrets of Paper and Ink to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.