I have been a huge fan of author Michèle Phoenix ever since I read her phenomenal Of Stillness and Storm. (In fact, that was one of the best books I read during the last year.) So when Netgalley offered me the chance to read this author’s newest book, The Space Between Words, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!
Jessica is an American living in France, working alongside her employer Patrick and fellow employee Vonda. (The trio are also platonic roommates.) Patrick owns the Denver, Colorado boutique Trésor, which is filled with (as you’d guess) treasures from Europe. “Picking chiner,” as it’s defined in France, is Patrick’s joy and métier. He drives around France’s rural areas and purchases things which aren’t valued by their owners but which make his store a beloved stop by fashionable Americans. The three agree to head to France together for store shopping. Patrick speaks French, and Jessica envies his easy friendships and rapport with the French. On the trio’s last day in Paris, they decide to do some sightseeing and art-viewing. But Vonda is offered free tickets to a concert that evening; a death metal band, which isn’t really Jessica’s thing (nor Patrick’s, as he heads off to le musée). The next day they will head off to search for treasures in the country.
But the evening doesn’t go as anyone expects. Vonda and Jessica are headed to the Bataclan, where three terrorists will open automatic rifle fire and kill 70; and injure many more.
Jessica wakes up in the hospital, wounded, and broken in her spirit. She plans to leave immediately to go back home to Colorado. Vonda, uninjured, isn’t much help; but dear Patrick is supportive, kind and consoling. He works and works to convince Jessica to go with him on their country treasure hunt. Paralyzed by fears brought on by the attack and injuries made by a bullet, she is hesitant to agree. But finally, when she’s released from the hospital, they begin their journey and head to a charming inn in the south of France.
As they’re poking around the countryside, the pair finds a barn filled with an amazing collection of furniture, junk, and dusty objects. Jessica happens onto a collection of ancient hidden letters; and, reading them, enters the story of persecuted Huguenot Christian Adeline Baillard.
But there are mysteries ahead for Jessica that she cannot even imagine. Is she in a ghost story? What is really going on in this journey she’s undertaken after the Bataclan attack? Is there love and hope ahead for her?
I will honestly pick up ANYTHING by author Michèle Phoenix. Her writing and perspective captivated me from the first moment I picked up one of her books. The Space Between Words is a timely, engaging story of the terrors and struggles that we face today, juxtaposed with the ones that Christians faced hundreds of years ago. It turns out that our desire and fierceness to survive aren’t all that different after all. Check out The Space Between Words….and everything else you can find by Phoenix!
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I received a digital e-reader copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this review.