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The Bright Unknown

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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  48 reviews
This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores the power of resilience, the gift of friendship, and the divine beauty to be found in the big, bright world—if only we’re willing to look.

Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann,
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Expected publication: October 22nd 2019 by Thomas Nelson on Brilliance Audio
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  • The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts
    The Bright Unknown
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    Release date: Oct 22, 2019
    Enter for a chance to WIN one of TEN finished copies of THE BRIGHT UNKNOWN by Elizabeth Byler Younts!

    This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores th
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    Giveaway dates: Oct 07 - Oct 14, 2019

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.28  · 
    Rating details
     ·  53 ratings  ·  48 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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    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
    Susie Finkbeiner
    Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Full review to come...
    Nora St Laurent
    Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I was hooked from the first line. “I’m not sure whom I should thank – or blame – for the chance to become an old woman. Though as a young girl, sixty-seven seemed much older than it actually is.”

    This author does a brilliant job of taking readers to a place no one wants to go and/or even think about. This is an extraordinary novel that tugged at my heartstrings right from the start with it’s larger than life characters and their horrific situations. This is a moving story I don’t think I could ha
    ...more
    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.
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    Susan Snodgrass
    Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
    'I knew that being a resident of the Riverside Home For The Insane was not how everyone else in the world lived. But it has been my life since birth.'

    Brighton was born in the insane asylum because her mother was a patient there. She knew no other life. A nurse educated and raised her inside that dreary place. Brighton finds an albino not and names him Angel because he has no name. They grow up together in this put. Years later they escape but are completely unprepared for life in the world.

    Poign
    ...more
    Jody ~ Reading To Live A Thousand More Lives
    This is a first time author for me, and it will not be the last time I read anything by her. I enjoyed this story, but for me, it was a haunting setting. This was a tough book to get through, as it is a haunting story of pain and despair, that pulled me in, nonetheless broke my heart. I would recommend this book to anyone who may possibly be able to relate to Brighton and Angel’s past and present.

    I received a copy from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.
    Karen Britton
    Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts
    Brighton is born and grows up in an insane asylum. She lives there for 18 years and finally manages to escape with her life-long friend, Angel, an albino. She journeys to find hope, belonging and her true identity.
    This is an amazing and powerful story. I could hardly comprehend the life that Brighton and her mother would have endured in an insane asylum in the 1940’s.
    The characters are complex and their motivations are multi-layered. How is it that th
    ...more
    Brenda
    Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I’m usually drawn to covers of books in hopes that they hold a glimpse of the story inside. This cover, although good, doesn’t begin to speak the volumes delivered in this amazing book. I read through this book so fast that when I realized my Kindle app was reporting 95 percent complete I had to stop. I was not even close for my journey to come to an end with Angel and Brighton. I was so drawn and invested in their lives, the story, and the other characters.

    I won’t recap the story because so ma
    ...more
    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.
    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
    Michelle Kidwell
    Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    The Bright Unknown
    by Elizabeth Byler Younts
    Thomas Nelson–FICTION

    Thomas Nelson

    Christian , Historical Fiction

    Pub Date 22 Oct 2019

    I am reviewing a copy of The Bright Unknown through Thomas Nelson Fiction and Netgalley:

    Brighton Friedrich has only known the life she has endured inside the dreary walls of Riverside Home- The Asylum where she was born. Joann, a nurse, raised and educated Brighton, Brighton’s Mother is a patient at the Asylum. But Joann has also kept some vital information from Brighton
    ...more
    Marie Burton
    Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Powerfully told.. Sadness permeates throughout while hope struggles to breathe.
    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
    Caroline
    Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I'm a new reader of Elizabeth Byler Younts. I can tell she is going to be a new favorite, however, as I thoroughly enjoyed The Bright Unknown. Based on much of what insane asylums were actually like in the 1930-40s, it is a gripping read. One of the best books I've read all year.

    The story centers around two young adults who have had the misfortune of growing up in an insane asylum. Brighton was born at the institution as her mother was a patient. Angel's family rejected him and placed him there
    ...more
    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.
    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
    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!!
    Anita Ojeda
    Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    For the first 18 years of her life, Brighton Freidrich lives in a mental institution—and not because she has a mental deficiency. Surrounded by her mother and other women living in their minds, Brighton has little statistical chance of turning out normal.

    But Nursey, one of the few employees at Riverside Home for the Insane who genuinely cares about Brighton, tries to make her life as normal as possible within the sterile walls of an institution. And finding Angel helps.

    Angel, who came to the c
    ...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
    ...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
    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
    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
    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
    ...more
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    Go to www.elizabethbyleryounts.com to subscribe to the newsletter and receive the audio of the first chapter of her new release THE SOLACE OF WATER as a thank you gift.

    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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