Friday, December 6, 2019

WHEN I CLOSE MY EYES by Elizabeth Musser, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser is a captivating and significant story about Josephine Bourdillon who is an author struggling with depression. Yet with her novels, Josephine seeks to impart hope to her readers.
Ms. Musser paints beautiful word pictures of the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina where the Bourdillon’s live: “In the spring the mountains looked green and soft as velvet, but when October came around, the velvet blanket turned into an intricate tapestry of reds and oranges and deep yellows.”

The novel is told from several voices, each of whom is searching for something. For one it is forgiveness, one the meaning of faith and salvation, and one how to exist with overwhelming self doubt.

This is a hard book to read but it is well worth it. Faith seeps from every page even in the midst of adversity.

Josephine, husband Patrick, and daughters Paige and Hannah are a loving family. They are haunted by what the girls call “The Awful Year” never speaking of it but not truly understanding all that happened. But when Josephine lies in a coma from head trauma, the family is forced to confront the circumstances of the past.

Ms. Musser puts her heart into the story showing Patrick as patient, loving, understanding and protective. Josephine is depicted very realistically as someone with a strong faith but who grapples with self worth. Her role as an author sees her longing to touch lives: “I write what touches my heart. What I care about. Injustice, cruelty, prejudice, addiction, depression. I know they’re unsettling things in our society, but I can’t stop writing about them. In my stories there is always hope.”

This book is rich in emotion as each character finds the answers he is seeking and a faith that is real and sustaining.

There is much to take away from this novel not the least of which is Grace. As Josephine realizes: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. The gift of God, the gift of God. A gift. A gift.”

Ms. Musser care about those with depression and puts helpful information in the afterword for people seeking help and encouragement.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not obligated to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

Back Cover Blurb:
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.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy When I Close My Eyes at Amazon
Buy When I Close My Eyes at


  1. This is definitely going on my audiobook list. It has three narrators! Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Paula!

  2. Wow, this book sounds very intriguing and like a very good page turner! Thank you for sharing about this book, I really want to read it. I will be adding it to my TBR list. I love the cover, it is Beautiful! Have a Great weekend. God Bless you.


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