The Bright Unknown Review from Mindy Houng

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About the Book

Book: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

cover Bright UnkownTwo 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!

 

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Words are veils and masks, and there’s always something more on the other side of them than we want to believe.”This is my first book by Elizabeth Byler Younts and I am totally captivated. The author writes with such haunting, heart-wrenching innocence through the eyes of Brighton, a child born in an asylum during the 1920s. The story chronicles her life in the asylum as she befriends an albino boy she names Angel, as she watches and then lives the horrors administered to the hospitalized under the guise of “therapy”, as she craves love and touch and receives what she can’t process until much later in life. The despair and hopelessness of her teen years in the asylum are balanced out by her present-day 1990 voice in which we are aware that she’s lived a good life after escaping the asylum and infuses the whole story with hope. The author addresses the atrocities that so many went through from the late 1920s through early 1940s, those who were considered “not normal”, in the physical and/or emotional sense.
Elizabeth Byler Younts has found another fan in this reader who is still reeling from the beautiful complexity of this book. I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Elizabeth YountsElizabeth 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.

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