The Words between Us

A Novel

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"A story to savor and share. I loved every sentence, every word."
--Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise between Us


Robin Windsor has spent much of her life under an assumed name to avoid association with her infamous parents. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary running her used bookstore in quiet River City, Michigan. But when she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. Why would Peter be making contact now? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine.


"Erin Bartels has created a story that feels more like a memory, something I lived, than a piece of fiction. If you are the kind of person who finds meaning and life in the written word, then you'll find yourself hidden among these pages."--Shawn Smucker, author of Light from Distant Stars

"Vividly drawn and told in expertly woven dual timelines. Erin's characters are a treat: complex, dynamic, and so lifelike I half expected them to climb straight out of the pages."--Kathleen Barber, author of Truth Be Told


Erin Bartels is the author of We Hope for Better Things. She grew up in the Bay City, Michigan, area, upon which River City is based, and has spent much of her life waiting on drawbridges. She now lives in Michigan's capital city with her husband, Zachary, and their son.


Endorsements

"The Words between Us is a story to savor and share: a lyrical novel about the power of language and the search for salvation. A secondhand bookstore owner hiding from a legacy of scandal, tragedy, and heartbreak must unlock the secrets of the past to claim her happiness. I loved every sentence, every word."

Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise between Us

"Erin Bartels has done it again. She's created a story that has set up camp in my mind and now feels more like a memory, something I lived, than a piece of fiction. The added benefit is that it's a story about books, some of the best ones ever written. If you are the kind of person who finds meaning and life in the written word, then you'll find yourself hidden among these pages."

Shawn Smucker, author of Light from Distant Stars

"Vividly drawn and told in expertly woven dual timelines, The Words between Us is a story about a woman who has spent years trying to escape her family's scandals and the resilience she develops along the way. Erin Bartels's characters are a treat: complex, dynamic, and so lifelike I half expected them to climb straight out of the pages."

Kathleen Barber, author of Truth Be Told


The Author

  1. Erin Bartels
    Matthew Mitchell Photo

    Erin Bartels

    Erin Bartels is the award-winning author of All That We Carried, 2020 Christy finalist The Words between Us, and We Hope for Better Things, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, 2020 WFWA Star Award-winner, and 2019 Christy finalist. A...

    Continue reading about Erin Bartels

Reviews

"Alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Words Between Us is a story of love found in the written word and love found because of the written word. It is also a novel of the consequences of those words that are left unsaid. Bartels' compelling sophomore novel (after We Hope for Better Things, 2019) will satisfy fans and new readers alike."

Booklist

"Weaving forward and backward, The Words Between Us stitches the storylines together in a sometimes neat, sometimes messy fashion all hurtling forward to an unexpectedly dramatic end. It's a John Green-esque tale that, in my opinion, deserves just as much praise and attention. Erin Bartels drew me in with a unique premise and held me there with her strong storytelling and complex characters. . . . Bartels has given her readers a novel to read slowly and contemplate. It shows a true love for literature that all book-lovers will enjoy and a deeply rich storyline that will keep you engaged until long after the final page is closed."

Life Is Story

"Erin Bartels hit a home run with this one. I found myself unable to put the book down until I knew how this was all going to end. And I will be glad to pick it up and read it all over again."

Interviews & Reviews

"The Words between Us by Erin Bartels is a deep, thought-provoking story. . . . Erin Bartels created a story that dug into my heart. I couldn't let go of the characters. Even after the last page was read, they were still stuck in my head. Their stories were that good."

Urban Lit Magazine

"This book took me by storm."

Bold Girl Magazine

"A love letter to reading and literature, this will have bibliophiles swooning."

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

"Bartels weaves a dual narrative, slowing bringing to light a story of young love, betrayal, and loss."

Fine Books & Collections

"Fans of Jenny B. Jones and Courtney Walsh will be drawn to this engaging, heartfelt story."

Library Journal

"True to its title, The Words Between Us, words are indeed what binds this whole story together. What this novel leaves behind for each reader to consider is the power of the spoken and written word."

Englewood Review of Books

"The Words Between Us is a women's fiction/mystery mix which I think will be pleasing to the fans of either genre. It's a unique, beautifully written tale that packs a nice emotional punch and has just enough of a puzzle to leave you guessing through the very end."

All About Romance

"An engrossing story featuring believable characters dealing realistically with betrayal, forgiveness, redemption, the emotional and psychological power of words, love of books. and learning to be true to yourself."

Michigan in Books


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