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The Bright Unknown

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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  36 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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 orde
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Audio CD
Expected publication: October 22nd 2019 by Thomas Nelson on Brilliance Audio (first published October 2019)
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4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  36 ratings  ·  29 reviews


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Renee
“All I knew of regular girls came from books. But my fictional friends Heidi, Pollyanna, Betsy, Anne, Sarah—none of them had regular lives either. So perhaps there were no regular girls anywhere.”

In evocative prose, Elizabeth Byler Younts draws us into the world of Brighton and Angel, a pair of Dickensian-type innocents who shine the light of kindness and courage in some very dark places.

Brighton and Angel meet while incarcerated in a mental institution as children, where their formative years
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Olivia
Brokenness. Depression. Pain. Despair.

We all know these words well, but the lovely Elizabeth Byler Younts dives into the depths of these issues, creating a setting that brings out the stark reality of a psychiatric hospital in the 1950s. As I became invested in the characters lives I had to stop reading many times and take a deep breath. You feel the pain Brighton experiences & many of the subjects and feelings described are things I have seen at a much, much lower intensity.

While I feel li
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Heidi Chiavaroli
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a an absolute gem. Authentic, gritty, and full of hope. Just my kind of book. Highly recommend!

From Endorsement:
As bold as it is beautiful, as haunting as it is full of hope, The Bright Unknown is a story that will latch onto the minds and hearts of readers, and not easily let go. With luscious language that gives birth to unforgettable characters, Younts is not afraid to explore the dark places for the sake of finding light. I could not put this novel down!
Doris Vandruff
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brighton's mom was taken to the Riverside Home for the Insane. She was pregnant and unmarried. Brighton was born in the asylum and because her mom was a patient, she also could not leave. She lived in a world of being a patient when she was normal. She saw first hand the abuse and neglect of all the patients. A lot of the patients had things like psychosis, schizophrenia, and catatonia. However, a lot of them were there for no valid reason. Maybe they were retarded, albino, orphaned or mongoloid ...more
Windi
I can't say enough about this book - and this author! A work of fiction that rings as true as a personal memoir. Heart breaking - heart wrenching - yet when you look you will see light, joy, hope.

Beautifully written story - well developed plot and characters. I will definitely recommend this author to friends and family.

Thank you Net Galley, Thomas Nelson Fiction, and Elizabeth Byler Younts for the complimentary digital copy. All opinions expressed are completely my own and I will definitely be
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Heather Bennett
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bright Unknown is a emotional, unique, engrossing story. This is a fantastic must read book of the year. The story and characters grips you from the first chapter and will leave a impression long after the final page.
Deb
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book captured my attention from the very beginning. It is narrated by Brighton, a remarkable woman with an incredible past. Brighton was raised in an asylum during the 1930's. Her mother was pregnant with her when she was committed, and the nurse in charge of her mother's care deemed it best to keep the infant with her mentally ill mother. Indeed, Brighton has always been able to soothe her mother - even if she can't fully connect with her through the fog of her mental illness. And "Nursey" ...more
Sayo
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I first read an excerpt from this book in "Buzz books 2019: Fall/Winter"
And I am so happy that I did.

Brighton Friedrich was born and raised in an Asylum, her mother being too sick to care for her, Brighton is raised by a young nurse she affectionately calls 'Nursey'
Angel, an albino boy is brought in, they say his mother is a ghost as no one saw her come or go. He has no name,
This book weaves through the 30's, 40s and 90s.
From Brighton and Angels life in the Asylum to a harrowing escape, to life
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Emily Yager
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written and well developed story and plot. This story bravely dives into some dark corners and manages to pull out the hope that hidden amongst the cobwebs there. There is so many things that I love about this book, the unique characters, the haunting yet hopeful story, and the emotion that tugs you into this captivating tale. This is my first book by this author, and it will not be me last.
Marie
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerfully told.. Sadness permeates throughout while hope struggles to breathe.
Susie Finkbeiner
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full review to come...
Robin Dix
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want sure I was going to like this book as I read the first few chapters, it seemed depressing. But Elizabeth pulled me in with her exceptional attention to detail and I feel in love with Angel and Brighton. I highly recommend it!!
Claire
These characters felt real to me. They drew me into the story and made me worry for them and squeal when things went right. I went into the story thinking it was young adult because the characters are mostly teenage throughout the plot, but in the end I think it's more adult because of the passages with Nell as an adult. In addition, the themes and depictions of the mental asylum are intensely troubling and perhaps better suited to adults. That said, I'm technically an adult (in age, anyway, if ...more
Claire
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These characters felt real to me. They drew me into the story and made me worry for them and squeal when things went right. I went into the story thinking it was young adult because the characters are mostly teenage throughout the plot, but in the end I think it's more adult because of the passages with Nell as an adult. In addition, the themes and depictions of the mental asylum are intensely troubling and perhaps better suited to adults. That said, I'm technically an adult (in age, anyway, if ...more
Leslie M.
4.5 stars

Right from the start, the characters, descriptions, and beautiful prose drew me in. I had a hard time putting this book down, as I just had to know what would happen next. I loved the fact that the story unfolded in two parts:1990s and 1920s-1930s. I enjoyed seeing the pieces come together from Brighton/Nell.

The characters are so well-developed, and the author has a way with her prose that it easily pulls the reader in to the story. I just loved everything about Brighton, as well as Ang
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Sandra
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by the description of this book and could not wait to read it. This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Byler Younts. I have personal family history into this tragic subject and feel Ms. Younts did an excellent job of portraying this historical fact. Even though this is a fictional book the events unfortunately happened in way too many “Hospitals” during this time period. I love a quote from the book
“Why anyone would think something akin to a prison sentence would bring b
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Sandra
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the description of this book and could not wait to read it. This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Byler Younts. I have personal family history into this tragic subject and feel Ms. Younts did an excellent job of portraying this historical fact. Even though this is a fictional book the events unfortunately happened in way too many “Hospitals” during this time period. I love a quote from the book
“Why anyone would think something akin to a prison sentence would bring b
...more
Tina
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I asked to review this book because I really liked the title. I wasn't really sure what it would be about and had never read anything else by the author before. However, I absolutely loved it! The story of Brighton and Angel is a story that needs to be told, over and over again. Otherwise, as Elizabeth Byler Younts points out during the story, history will repeat itself. And that would be disastrous. The Bright Unknown is the story of two people raised in an insane asylum before World War II. Br ...more
Nyla
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Bright Unknown by author Elizabeth Byler Yount is a haunting tale. This fiction book sounded and read as a true story. It was an emotional, gritty account of one girl, Brighton, raised in an asylum because she was born there.

The characters felt genuine and real. Their emotions came off of the pages and then transferred to me. I felt so sorry for the way they were treated. When something finally went their way, my heart rejoiced!

This book discusses how patients were treated in a mental instit
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Brandi
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read
Gripping and heartfelt, this book will capture you on page one and not release you even when you finish the last page and put it down. So many sad, heinous atrocities committed against these beautiful, misunderstood, souls in the asylums. The unspoken stories of so many people are respectfully told, while maintaining the humanity dignity that was stripped from most of them. Brighton is an astoundingly strong and resilient character to endure all that she does. She finds the courage and strength ...more
Brandi
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping and heartfelt, this book will capture you on page one and not release you even when you finish the last page and put it down. So many sad, heinous atrocities committed against these beautiful, misunderstood, souls in the asylums. The unspoken stories of so many people are respectfully told, while maintaining the humanity dignity that was stripped from most of them. Brighton is an astoundingly strong and resilient character to endure all that she does. She finds the courage and strength ...more
Becky
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Bright Unknown is my first book to read by Elizabeth Byler Younts. I wish I had known more about her writings, because this book is not exactly the kind of book I'd pick up to read. The plot is dark, the characters are sympathetic but they lived through a lot of pain, and the setting is (for me) nightmarish.

Brighton Friedrich is living in an asylum, mainly because she was born there and her mother was a patient there.

Angel is a boy living in the boys' ward and doesn't know his real name.

Br
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Karen Hutchinson
Well, I almost stopped reading this book before a major turning point in the story, which didn’t occur until about halfway through. It was definitely a tough story to read, as daily life is described inside a mental hospital in the 1930’s and 40’s. I’m sure these types of facilities have improved over the years, but some of the methods employed by employees (in this book) were cruel and sometimes life-altering.. Very hard to read about.

After the turning point in the story, a series of adventures
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Chris
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brighton is forced to relive her memories of growing up in and escaping from an insane asylum in the early 1940s. However, in doing so, she is able to understand how God used evil for good in her life and she can finally accept everything that happened to her as good and perfect gifts from Him.

I appreciate that in this Christian novel, Elizabeth Byler Younts writes honest characters who come to faith in a believable way and whose trust in God help them through some horrendous circumstances. Ther
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Sara Smith
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: early-reads
I received an early E-ARC of this book through netgalley.

Part of this book really hit me with it's beautiful use of language and the vulnerability of this young woman who was stuck in an insane asylum due to her birth there from her incarcerated mother. Another part of me really didn't like this book because it felt choppy and disjointed. I didn't like the ending and I wasn't sure I would finish it at times. It's definitely a mood-setter of a book and the concept was very original.
Chris Jager
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful brutally honest book. One you will find yourself wrestling with but you have to keep reading.
You need to meet Brighton and experience her life to understand it. She is a young woman that you find yourself cheering for while she makes her journey of discovery of who she truly is.
Put this book on your must read list right now as you don’t want to miss it.
JoAnn
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bright Unknown is such a good book. Loved the plot, two young people searching for answers. I enjoyed the author’s writing and will be reading more of her books. I recommend this book. I received an arc from the publisher and this is my unbiased review.
Amy
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read and loved books by Elizabeth Byler Younts in the past and The Bright Unknown is no different. I thought it was a great read! I give it four and a half stars.
Deb
rated it it was amazing
Jul 31, 2019
Tanya
rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2019
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Elizabeth Byler Younts is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She gained a worldwide audience through her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl and is a RITA nominated writer. She is also the author of Th
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