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.
Sounds wonderful! I love time-slip stories and of course I love any novel set in England!
I am at a point in my life that I don’t worry about such things.
I used to be bound by the “not good enough” label, but at my age, I’m finally free of that and am secure in who God made me. 🙂
I don’t let that stuff bother me so I am able to move on.
so good to do!
I put my focus on who God says I am.
a great plan!
We need to focus on what the Bible says that we are in Christ. We are: a chosen generation. a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.
I try my hardest to ignore labels! We are all in this thing called life together. We are all beloved children of God. Praying for more unity!
Praying for that with you!
I was brought up worrying what other people think of me. I don’t worry about it anymore.
that’s a good milestone to reach!
I remember that God made me (all of us) special and who am I to question His handiwork. I have struggled with my “lacks” before but am past it. This sounds like a great book.
I ignore it.
My family and friends know who I am so “labels” don’t bother me.
Life is too short to worry about such things.
It’s a hard thing to fight back when people label you. The sting can really hurt. But I pray the Lord will protect my heart and pour salve over the hurt.
I pray about it and God gives me peace not to stress about it. Looking forward to your book.I love the cover!
isn’t that a great cover?
Honestly, I’ve pretty much given up fighting labels. It exhausts me.
it IS exhausting – but keep putting God’s truth about you in front of you
I am old enough that those things don’t bother me.
Thanks for the chance to win!
an advantage of getting older 🙂
I loved The Heart Between us, so I have no doubt that this is going to be excellent. I also love the time slip element, so I am looking forward to that, too. As far as labels go, I really try and ignore that kind of negativity in my life. Inevitably, though it is hurtful and hateful and there seems to be a ton of that going around in our society today. I’m truly at a loss to know what’s going to turn the tide.
only Jesus <3
I grew up as the shy and quiet girl, but became a wedding photographer where I had to get out of my comfort zone to nicely and loudly arrange large groups of chatty people 😉
I am true to myself and trust God. I claim His promises.
Older, wiser and I don’t care anymore about the superficial and shallow things.
This is definitely on my TBR list…I can’t wait to read it.
I used to let stuff bother me and I wouldn’t say anything. Now I try not to dwell on things and let it go.
I don’t care what strangers think of me. Just be me.
I am not concerned what others think of me.
I remind myself that I am a beloved child of God.
Thanks for the giveaway. It sounds like a great book, especially since the setting is a bookstore.
Thanks for your support, everyone!! <3
Mostly I don’t worry much about what others think about me. While I often think negatively about myself, I figure if my husband loves me as I am, I should love me too!
Labels really have held me back in life. I now don’t worry about labels. I am happy with my faith in God and who I am.
I’ve always had a problem with worrying about what others think about me. One would think that at my age I wouldn’t worry about it anymore but I still do. ? Thank you for the giveaway. This book sounds amazing and I so want to read it.
Thoroughly enjoyed this read…much to think about. So many great quotes in this read. Loved the review!
As for fighting back against labels…I’ve never bothered. My mom taught me that you can’t really defend yourself, you have to judge if what people say about you is bad or true. If you need to fix something, do so. If not, move on knowing you can’t change their perspective. My mom’s advice has served me well! ?
Things like that used to bother me when I was younger. Now that I’m older other peoples labels or comments don’t matter to me. It’s what I feel and what I know that matters.
I’ve learned by trusting God and Jesus that what people think about me doesn’t matter–I’m loved by God and Jesus died for me. He gave his life to give me life and that is a gift beyond measure.
Not that I always remember to do this but remembering to focus on our identity in Christ covers a lot of our misguided troubles.
At my age,, I am way over what other people think of me…
And Cornwall is a cute village that I have visited a few times…
I try not to let what others think of me bother me, but it is hard sometimes worrying what others may think. I just try to stay kind and true to who I am, and hope that I attract genuine friends in the process!
I fight back against labels with the Word of God! It also helps to have friends that build you up and encourage you!
As I’ve grown older, I discovered that I care less about what people think and I focus a lot more on what God thinks. There is so much noise in the world today. We must not listen to all that noise, but keep our eyes, ears, and heart focused on the positive things.
I pray and ask God to help me to give me peace. I think positive thoughts.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14