It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix, an amazing dual timeline novel set in France in 1695 and 2015. Have you read it?
About The Space Between Words
“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”
When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.
“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.
“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”
During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.
“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”
Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.
Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?
Find The Space Between Words online at:
The Space Between Words starts in Gatingy, France, with Adeline Baillard as the narrator.
It’s 1695, the time of the persecution of the Huguenots, those Protestants who refused the King’s orders to convert to Catholicism. The story then skips forward to 2015, to a first-person account from thirty-four year-old Jessica. Jessica is living in Paris with her friends Patrick and Vonda.
They are about to leave Paris to go touring around Southern France. First, they decide to celebrate with one last night of fun. Vonda suggests a concert at the Bataclan nightclub.
On 14 November 2015, the night of the real-life massacre.
I read The Space Between Words in June 2017, in the week after the London Bridge attack and the benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester attack. That brought home all the more the horror and confusion of the Bataclan bloodbath.
I don’t’ want to say any more about the plot because *spoilers*.
Instead I’ll say this is Jessica’s story. It’s about searching for what has been lost. About finding hope in the midst of loss. It’s also a story of struggle and courage and faith, especially Adeline’s faith and that of her fellow Huguenots. It’s inspiring.
The story has a strong spiritual thread. This is mostly in the past words of Adeline Baillard, but also in the present conversations between Jessica and her companions. It’s not a “traditional” Christian novel in that the main characters aren’t Christians
But there is a definite faith journey.
It reminds me of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck, The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser, and The Five Times I Met Myself by James L Rubart. The writing was strong, and the story unpredictable (in a good way).
I recommend The Space Between Words for those looking for a novel with depth.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.