Friday, October 25, 2019

When I Close My Eyes {A Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Could she ever share the secret of The Awful Year?
There is one story that novelist Josephine Bourdillon shirked from writing. And now she may never have a chance. Trapped in her memories, she lies in a coma.

The man who put her there is just as paralyzed. Former soldier Henry Hughes failed to complete the kill. What's more: he never received full payment--funds that would ensure surgery for his son.

As detectives investigate disturbing fan letters, a young but not-so-na├»ve Paige Bourdillon turns to her mother's turbulent past for answers. Could The Awful Year be worse than the one they're living now?
Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death.

Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, lives and works with her husband in southern France. She is the author of ten novels, including the critically acclaimed The Swan House. Visit Elizabeth's website at

 "Faith and mental stability aren't mutually exclusive."

Wow. Can we just go back and read this quote from When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser again!? This is a message that I think is so very needed in the church today! As a Christian who struggles with mental illness, I know that there can be a true stigma within the Christian community about the issue. We so often hear that sadness or worry are not from God, and that if we only have a stronger faith, we can overcome these issues. That's a really harmful message for anyone dealing with anxiety and depression who already feel that that are falling short. What so many fail to hear is the illness part of that term: mental illness. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc are ILLNESSES. The symptoms may be different, but our attitude toward them should not be... we no more ask for depression than we ask for cancer... nor can we overcome it so easily with a change of attitude.

When I Close My Eyes speaks to that much needed message in such a beautiful way. It tells the fictional story of novelist Josephine Bourdillon, who has been a victim of an attempted assassination. She survives the attack, and the book tells the aftermath of this event through the eyes of Josephine, her daughter Paige and the shooter Henry. While there is some mystery as who hired Henry, and just what happened during 'The Awful Year', it is interesting that this book lets us know right from the start who the shooter is and into his thought process through the ordeal. It truly gives us a great sympathy for him and really brings home the idea of forgiveness and grace that are so important in this story.

As we go back and forth between each character, more and more details are revealed both about the current attack, and the details of Josephine's past and the events during 'The Awful Year'. It is a fantastic in depth look into the mind of someone who is dealing with depression. It is not a lighthearted read, dealing with mental health issues as well as discussion of suicide, but it is one that again is just so needed. For someone who deals with mental health issues of my own, I relate to Josephine's character so strongly, and love that the author truly wrote a character who was very strong in faith, despite her struggles. This is so true for so many Christians who are so often made to feel shame for the thoughts they cannot control. For those who have never dealt with depression, I really hope this book can be eye opening. It may be a work of fiction, but it is such a beautiful representation of that struggle and one that I hope others will take to heart. Despite the heavy nature of the book, it's actually quite an uplifting read with messages of grace and forgiveness.

This is one of the best books I've read this year, and one that I highly recommend.


Post a Comment

"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24