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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This was a hauntingly, well told story about the endurance of humans in the midst of unjust laws and others who just don't care and or want to only hide their crimes. This is a story of a young girl, Brighton, who was born in an insane asylum due to the fact that her mother was a patient. Brighton has a very unconventional childhood, living there and a young nurse takes pity on her and treats her as much like a daughter that she can.
As Brighton grows, she begins to ask questions. Why hasn't her father come for her and why can't she leave as she is obviously not crazy? In the midst of all the craziness, Brighton does meet an albino boy who lives in the orphanage next door. Angel is his name and they are allowed to grow up together. However, times change and rules have to be followed and Brighton and Angel's futures look even darker.
This is the first book I have ever read by Author Younts and to pull me into a story like this, that takes talent. I saw the unfairness of how a lot of the women were treated in the 1940's. The reasons they were even put in the asylum was unjust and cruel. Whether it was a husband who wanted to move on to a mistress, or a new mother depressed, or even parents who could not make their daughter do their bidding- all of these and more were reasons to be put in such a place.
These characters and this story, unique as it is, will stay with me for awhile.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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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