Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Win a Copy of Words Unspoken (Reviewed)


If you read Monday's interview with author Elizabeth Musser, you know that her latest book is titled Words Unspoken. In my humble opinion, it's her best yet, and I say that with confidence having read all her others.

I dare you to put it down after the prologue--the sudden hailstorm on the Interstate, the nervous young driver, and the freakish accident that sets the rest of the events in motion.

Chapter one begins with the aftermath of that incident. Bright, high-achieving Lissa Randall's life has come to a standstill as a result of the wreck that took her mother's life--and because of the voices in her head that constantly tell her she's a failure and guilty. Those voices have basically trapped her in her home. She's unable to drive, unable to take any risks, unable to start college. The only thing that seems to motivate her is a desire to be able to drive and see the mysterious "Caleb," someone who apparently needs her desperately. But after once again failing the test to get her driver's license reinstated, Lissa hits rock bottom. In a moment of despair, she comes close to swallowing a handful of pills and ending it all, but instead decides to grasp at one remaining hope, a driving instructor named Ev McAllister who has been recommended to her. Lissa phones Ev MacAllister, a wise old man who seems to offer driving lessons as a ministry to troubled young people like herself. And so begins one of the most important relationships of Lissa's life.

The only part of Words Unspoken that might give you a problem is the second chapter--at least, if you're not expecting it. The story seems to be about Lissa and Ev and the driving lessons, but then in chapter two, we're introduced rapid-fire to several characters that seem unconnected to the pair or each other. There's a young missionary in France who has just lost her son, a wheeling-and-dealing stockbroker, an ambitious young man at a publishing company, and a socialite in the midst of a divorce. If you're not expecting the shift or if you don't like multiple points of view, you might feel a little lost. But trust me, the payoffs start to come soon as you discover, bit by bit, the fantastic story that connects all these threads and all these people.

One of those threads involves a sub-plot about a famous author named Stella Green, a reclusive woman who has published numerous best-sellers and received critical acclaim but who refuses to reveal her true identity, grant interviews or allow herself to be photographed. No one knows who she really is or why she's hiding her identity, but bit by bit we see that Stella Green's story touches all the other disparate characters in the book.

Some of the central characters are kind and giving, some are grasping and ambitious, but they all have another thing in common: the voices in their heads. We come to see that the ones who appear so noble may be trying to make up for some misdeed in their past, and the ones who seem so loutish on the outside are fighting their own mental battles.

Another unique feature of Elizabeth's novels is that they are "recent historicals." This one takes place in 1987, which may seem like a totally random date to you young folks. But to me I remember being very insecure in my job in 1987 and quite fearful of the future because of the stock market crash. So I figured that crisis was probably looming for these characters, too. As Elizabeth has mentioned in her interviews, she had no idea when she was writing just how timely this subject would be.

I suppose you've figured by now that I highly recommend this book. The characters and settings are rich and you'll keep turning the pages to pick up clues and try to piece together the mysteries.

I'll end with some good news. I'm giving away a copy of Words Unspoken! If I've gotten you interested, be sure to post a comment and let me know you'd like to be entered into the drawing . I'll announce the winner next week.

55 comments:

  1. Sounds good. Put me in the drawing!

    melanie dickerson at knology dot net

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  2. Put me in too,Robin. I'd love to read this.

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  3. Sounds like a great read-- I'd love to have a copy for my trip to the States this summer... put me in the drawing please!

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  4. Please add my name to the drawing!

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  5. Please add my name to the drawing!

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  6. I've loved all of your books........the way you do involve real life events in an inspirational novel and I'm sure I would enjoy this one.
    I'm from Marietta and met you at FUMC and know some of your family here!
    Please enter me in your drawing.

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  7. I love to read Elizabeth Musser's books, and it would be fabulous to receive a free copy! Please enter me in the drawing!

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  8. Every one of your books I've read has been excellent and I'd love to win a free copy of this one. Please count me in the drawing!
    Kathy

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  9. I would love to win a copy of Elizabeth's new book! Please add me to the drawing...Thanks.

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  10. I received a copy of you new book and it was INCREDIBLE. I couldnt put it down. It made me stop and think about the relationships in my own life and what I can do to improve them. Thank you for writing wholesome books that everyone can enjoy.

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  11. I've read most of her novels and look forward to reading this one as well.

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  12. Allison t RegnierJune 10, 2009 at 8:20 AM

    please enter me in the drawing

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  13. I would love to add this lastest book of Elizabeth's to my growing collection of her work. She has been a dear friend of mine for many years. Please add my name to your drawing.

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  14. Please enter me in your drawing......love to read and love your books!
    Jackie Smith

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  15. The prolog is captivating! Put me in your drawing, too, please.

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  16. Great review! I appreciate the Chapter 2 warning. Please enter me to win.

    Blessings,
    Mimi

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  17. I would LOVE to win Elizabeth's newest book. Being born and raised in Atlanta... and having since moved away...her books always bring to mind something I had long forgotten. Thanks, Kari Masson, for introducing me to the works of Elizabeth Musser.

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  18. mixonm@bellsouth.netJune 10, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    I love all of Elizabeth's books and look forward to Words Unspoken. I am an Atlanta native and met her at the Decatur Book Festival after hearing her praises from a mutual friend. Elizabeth is a joy! Please enter me in the drawing for the free book, I would love add a copy to my growing collection of her work!

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  19. I loved WU and have promoted it with the ladies in my club. It's a great story. Elizabeth just keeps writing beautiful pieces of work that take our hearts. Winning the book would be lovely, but since I have it and have already purchased it for others, please allow it to pass to another who has not had the priviledge as yet.

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  20. I would really like to win Elizabeth's new book! I've thoroughly enjoyed her other books, & look forward to this new one. Thanks for the opportunity. Sincerely, Toby Matson

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  21. Please put me in as well. I've read all her books so far - was able to buy the Two Crosses series when she came and visited Minnesota last year. If you say this is her best yet, I can't wait to read it!

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  22. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to win Elizabeth Musser's new book!

    Wendy Beidleman

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  23. I just recently discovered Musser and have loved all I have read so far! Excellent writer. Looking forward to reading Words Unspoken.

    Barb C.

    ChristianHomes[at]gmail[dot]come

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  24. Elizabeth, I am anxious to read this next one and to identify with so many of the details!
    Keep up the good work,
    The other Elizabeth in France

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  25. Enter me! I was captivated by her writing years ago when I read Two Crosses. Each book is a new adventure in the minds of her fascinating characters and interesting settings. She is also a wonderful and delightful person! Our bookclub is still talking about the dinner we had with her last year in MN.
    Patty G.

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  26. I've loved every one of Elizabeth Musser's books and can't wait to read this one. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  27. Ever since reading the first 2 chapters online I was captivated but as yet have not purchased my own copy. This review just whets my appetite more. Please put my name in the draw.
    Beth
    bgoh[at]islandnet[dot]com

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  28. I LOVE historicals, so please add me to the drawing. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  29. I've already bought 2 copies so don't NEED one but I want to say, Elizabeth Musser is bringing a light on the hill, with all her books. Whoever wins this copy will be blessed and I recommend, if you don't win, to buy one. It is a book well worth having. The only problem is you will need all the others too.
    Cheers
    Galilee Weldon

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  30. I would love to win this! Elizabeth Musser is my favorite author!

    ljatwood at gmail dot com

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  31. I understand the voices in your head from an accident I had in 1997 that could have taken my daughters lives. Also in 2003 my youngest daughter and I flipped upside down in car and were blessed to walk away. Yet I fear curves because of feeling of flipping.
    I would love to read this book and review it.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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  32. Please add me to the drawing, I love her books.
    Carlotta in OK

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  33. Hello! I love your view of the book! It sounds inspiring and heart warming. This would be the first book of hers that I have read!
    Please count me in.
    Many thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  34. Thnx for the free offer and add my to the drawaing. bill
    prov_25_25[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  35. Add me to the drawing! LOVE her books and can't wait to read this! Thank you for doing this too!
    Amy

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  36. Elizabeth is a very gifted author. Every book has been a treasure.
    Our whole family enjoys her books and looks forward to their publication!
    Swan House will always be our favorite, but we love everything she does!
    Please enter us in the contest.
    The Scott Family
    Norcross GA

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  37. The book club that I am coordinator for did The Swan House this fall. I was one of our all time favorites and we are really looking forward to doing another one of your books! Please put me in the drawing. Thanks!

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  38. Rebecca BedingfieldJune 10, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    I'd like to be entered into the drawing. Can't wait to read this! Thanks!
    beccajb@gmail.com

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  39. I have loved all of Elizabeth's books and would love to win this one. Meeting her in Croatia was very special for a long time fan.

    Jan Clark
    dclark1999@nc.rr.com

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  40. Hi Elizabeth, Your new book sounds great. I look forward to reading it. Beth Stephens

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  41. Please enter me in the drawing. I can't wait to read this next book!

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  42. Please enter me in the drawing. I have read all of Elizabeth's other books and loved them all. They are books to pass on to others. Joy McCoy

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  43. Wow. What a host of competitors. Count me it. Please enter my name in the drawing; I have enjoyed every book I've read, and know Elizabeth just keeps improving as she goes. It's a good thing she's so young =^)

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  44. I'm so glad I discovered this book. I would love to win a free copy. Driving has been a pain for me also. Please enter me in the drawing!
    my email is andreaartist24 at yahoo.com

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  45. i enjoyed 'Searching for Eternity' so much when i bought it for our church library so i am really looking forward to your latest book. please enter my name in the draw. many thanks for providing us with wonderful and thought-provoking Christian fiction!

    Marla

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  46. i have read all your books and love your writing! still waiting for the last of the two series...please enter me in the draw as well.
    yol venema

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  47. Her books are great! Swan House and The Dwelling Place are by far my favorites

    Katherine Rosenkranz
    krosenkran3@gatech.edu

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  48. Awesome writer! Love them all, but The Dwelling Place is probably my favorite. Please enter me in the draw.

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  49. I'd love to be added to the drawing. I've not read your books, but am very interested!

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  50. Stephanie VickersJune 15, 2009 at 3:19 PM

    I would love to be entered into the drawing! I love all of Elizabeths books along with my Christian fiction book club!

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  51. I Love your books Elizabeth. I look forward to reading your nex one. I would love to enter your drawing. Love from your friends at ITeams.

    Sandy Jo

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  52. Thanks for the chance to win one of these books! Add my name please!

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  53. Oh yes, please add my name. Jill

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  54. Please put me in the drawing! Thank you
    Amy Loewen

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  55. The drawing was probably long ago, but I want to register that I'm a huge fan of E.M. She is an artist as described above by N.T. Wright.

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