On Nov. 13, 2015, several terrorists stormed a concert at the Bataclan club in Paris, killing 90 people and injuring hundreds, on a night of numerous organized terrorist attacks within the city.
Michele Phoenix’s “The Space Between Words” is a fictional telling of an American woman, Jessica, in the city visiting her friend and roommate, Patrick, who is in Paris to study art and antiques. Toward the end of the Paris visit, her other friend Vonda convinces Jessica to attend a concert at the Bataclan while Patrick attends an art event — a decision that will forever change Jessica’s life.
After surviving the horrific event, Patrick convinces Jessica to travel to southern France in search of treasures — and a little healing of the soul. When Jessica stumbles across an antique sewing box containing hidden journal pages, she is quickly dragged into a mystery from 1695 — the story of a young Huguenot named Adeline Baillard, and the persecution she and her family suffer for being Protestant.
Along her journey, Jessica meets siblings Mona and Grant, and Mona’s adorable son Connor. Grant also quickly grows interested in the mystery of Adeline — did she survive, did her family survive, and if so, what happened to them? The newly acquainted party soon dig into the history of the Huguenots and their journey to safety and freedom in England.
“The Space Between Words” is a brilliant story that spans time, joining together the lives of two women searching for truth and freedom. Phoenix also sprinkles in some shocking plot twists that you will never see coming. You will fall in love with her very real, yet very flawed characters, and little Connor will leave you chuckling at every turn.
Filled with history, current events, romance and suspense, “The Space Between Words” is a brilliant novel filled with so many goodies and life lessons. As did Adeline’s family, it encourages us to live by the principle of “endure with courage, resist with wisdom, and persist in faith.” It reminds us that God endures and that He is our refuge and is always with us, although troubles may still come; as long as we are able to read and convey God’s Word, our faith is never extinguished; we must choose life in spite of fear and loss; and God most definitely cares when the helpless get hurt.
As Adeline writes: “Our faith breathes on in the bravery of belief and in the insurgency of prayer. Sobered by the danger threatening our future, trusting in the sureness of God’s unfailing promises, we will live out the vows embodied by my father: enduring with courage, resisting with wisdom, persisting in faith.”
It also repeatedly deals with the theme of why God allows bad to happen and that “God layers good over the bad.” We are reminded through Jessica’s and Adeline’s stories to always find the good in a situation — no matter how long it takes to find that good. And so “The Space Between Words” is a story of searching — searching, quite literally, for people; searching for answers; searching for hope; searching for the good; and ultimately searching for God.
Readers who enjoy stories that span time and connect characters from different eras (fans of Kate Morton, for example) will love this book, as will fans of stories dealing with religious history.
Five stars out of five.
Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.