Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Book Review: The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water, by Erin Bartels

I love this book and you should buy it!!!

There you go - that's my whole review in a nutshell.

Erin Bartels is quickly becoming one of my
I've-read-everything-she's-written authors.

To prove my longterm love,
here's my 2019 review for We Hope For Better Things.

And here's my 2021 review for All That We Carried.

Seriously - thank goodness she's so prolific!

Also, I know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on! That cover?? That title??? I was hooked before page 1...

The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water gives us a most intriguing opening. Our narrator, Kendra, isn't speaking to us. She's speaking to "you." Who is this "you" and why is she sharing this story with him or her? Already, lured in ...

Kendra spend her summers growing up around Hidden Lake, an idyllic childhood world of water, forest, and freedom. She had those incredibly close friendships that form from late night campfires and woodland adventures. But something happened on the lake with one of those friends. As an adult, Kendra transformed her trauma into a best-selling novel. But there is one dissenting voice: an anonymous letter from "A Very Disappointed Reader" questions Kendra's version of the truth. Her second novel is due, and she has incurable writers block. Her solution? Return to the lake and confront her past.

I inhaled this book! Erin's writing style is so incredibly beautiful. Her deep love for the lake setting puts us straight into the sensual beauty of sunsets and morning mist.

She has a gift for creating compelling, fully realized characters, and the plot folds and flows in a way that keeps us fully engaged in both the present day story and the perfectly utilized flashbacks.

There were two themes that I thought Erin handled particularly beautifully:

First: Fiction vs Truth. Where is the truth in fiction? How do we discover ourselves, others, and the world through story? I don't want to say to much about this to avoid spoilers, but as a writer and an avid reader, this theme was truly powerful and served the story brilliantly.

Second: trigger warning: abuse and assault. There are difficult themes in this book, not often handled in Christian fiction. Erin has a powerful way of sharing the reality of the story, without ever exploiting or sensationalizing. 

I opened this post with my 2-line review, but honestly,
 I feel I could write a proper essay on how much I love
The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water!
 I truly can't recommend this book enough! 

Erin's site is full of all kinds of wonderful treasures like blogposts, photography, and podcasts.
You can check it all out here:


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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