The Secrets of Paper and Ink – Lindsay Harrel – Thomas Nelson – Published 26 February 2019




A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England–a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author–and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

Two hundred years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

My thoughts

The Secrets of Paper and Ink is a charming story, combing the stories of three very strong women as they face the challenges of love, family, heartbreak, and following their dreams.

Sophia Barrett is still wrestling with conflicting feelings after the death of her abusive fiancé. After a return to work goes badly, she escapes to the setting of her favourite novels, Cornwall, England. There she meets fellow American, Ginny Rose who is trying to save her bookstore in the wake of her husband’s abandonment. Together, Ginny and Sophia stumble upon the journal of Emily Fairfax, who dreams of becoming a published author and who loves her childhood friend, a man much above her station and someone she could never marry. As Ginny and Sophia try to track down the history of Emily and determine if hers was a true story, they must each determine what they want for their futures and heal from the traumas of the past.

I greatly enjoyed The Secrets of Paper and Ink and loved being swept away to another time and place. The three stories captured in this novel are beautifully interwoven, their stories coming together seamlessly. Ginny and Sophia’s sections are written in third person, while Emily’s sections are included as her journal entries. While each of the three women is dealing with different challenges and has a different dream for the future, their strength, determination and resilience is universal. While the focus of The Secrets of Paper and Ink is the journeys of the three women and the mystery behind Emily’s identity, there is also time within the story for romance. While each relationship progresses very differently and at a different pace, there are three romantic storylines to enjoy within the book.

The Secrets of Paper and Ink is one part romance, one part mystery and one part story of redemption and overcoming challenges, of faith, friendship and love.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Fiction

Genre: Christian contemporary, historical.

Themes: Romance, writing, marriage, therapy, relationship breakdown, divorce, adultery, physical abuse, emotion abuse, Cornwall England, friendship.

Published: 26 February 2019 by Thomas Nelson.

Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.

ISBN: 9780718075729

Find it on Goodreads