About the Book
Book: The Bright Unknown
Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Two 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.
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Imagine being born in early 1900s to a mother in a hospital for those designated insane or otherwise labeled unable to live in normal society. Brighton grew up exactly that way. Her only friends were the other patients and caregivers in her ward. Brighton shared a room with her mother who was lost in a world of her own. It took me a while to get into this story and I did not necessarily enjoy the first chapter that much. However, the more I read, the more I could not stop reading.
This book includes heartbreak, hope, friendship, and more. The other residents of her ward help bring the story to life. Her friendship with an albino patient helped capture my attention. As the two grow up together and experience more life has to offer, I found myself wanting to know more of their story. I have to say this book was not necessarily what I expected when I first started reading, but I am glad I kept reading.
Some topics in the book are difficult to read about such as the treatments the patients had to endure. But other ones touched my heart like Angel and Brighton trying to find their place in the world. Grace was another character I wanted to learn more about.
While some characters were not ideal, some of the people Angel and Brighton along their journey illustrated the true spirit of Jesus Christ. All in all this book was definitely one worth reading.
I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
About the Author
Elizabeth 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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