Book Review: Sleeping In Eden

22 Aug

197363_w185She knew what he wrote . . . 

One little word that made her feel both cheated and beloved. 

One word that changed everything. 


On a chilly morning in the Northwest Iowa town of Blackhawk, Dr. Lucas Hudson is filling in for the vacationing coroner on a seemingly open-and-shut suicide case. His own life is crumbling around him, but when he unearths the body of a woman buried in the barn floor beneath the hanging corpse, he realizes this terrible discovery could change everything. . . . 

Years before Lucas ever set foot in Blackhawk, Meg Painter met Dylan Reid. It was the summer before high school and the two quickly became inseparable. Although Meg’s older neighbor, Jess, was the safe choice, she couldn’t let go of Dylan no matter how hard she tried. 

Caught in a web of jealousy and deceit that spiraled out of control, Meg’s choices in the past ultimately collide with Lucas’s discovery in the present, weaving together a taut story of unspoken secrets and the raw, complex passions of innocence lost. 

promo8_thumbNicole Baart lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the mother of three young sons and awaiting the homecoming of a five-year-old daughter. After the adoption of her second son from Ethiopia, Nicole discovered a deep passion for global issues and co-founded a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, that works alongside a series of churches and an orphanage in Liberia. An accomplished novelist, she was a 2009 Christy Award finalist for fiction. Nicole is also the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Snow Angel. Her latest novel, Sleeping in Eden, is a Midwest Connections pick for May.

My Impressions:

Sleeping in Eden is another book that is earning my very highly recommended distinction.  After awarding that to Charles Martin’s latest novel, Unwritten, last week, I didn’t think another novel that moved me so much would come my way any time soon. But Nicole Baart has given readers a really, really wonderful novel that will speak to their hearts and souls. This book was 10 years in the making, and I am very glad that she did not give up on the process. Sleeping in Eden is a must read.

Two stories are told in the novel. Lucas is a small town doctor whose marriage is rapidly coming to an end. Meg is a small town girl full of zest and spunk with her whole life ahead of her. Their two very separate stories intersect in a way that leaves the reader hoping for some kind of miracle — and perhaps one does finally arrive.

I have to admit that it took me awhile to get into Sleeping in Eden. I immediately was pulled into Meg’s story, but Lucas left me irritated. He seemed a bit too pathetic and his wife hostile. But soon, Lucas’ story spoke to me, and I was anxious to read all that Baart would give about both of the characters. Filled with brokenness and despair, there is still a light that shines through. This is not an overtly Christian novel, but there is definitely a sense of a sovereign God that can make all things right despite our weak attempts to circumvent His will. I especially like the following quote near the end of the book — Dylan and Meg and Angela weren’t the only ones who had paid dearly for wanting what they didn’t have, who had forfeited the happiness they could have known for the sake of hollow dreams they couldn’t.

It should be noted that there is some mild profanity in this book, but beautiful writing, poignant characterization and the use of setting to set the tone more than outweigh that for me. But if that offends you, please be aware of it.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great For Book Clubs.

(Thanks to for my copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of Sleeping in Eden, click on the image below.

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