SLEEPING IN EDEN, by Nicole Baart

 In Book Reviews, Drama, Mystery/Horror/Crime

Sleeping in Eden BookSLEEPING IN EDEN

Author: Nicole Baart
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Genre: Adult Fiction Literature
Format: ARC (Copy in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Howard Books
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE 17+

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Contains No Spoilers[divider top=”0″]

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Finally, a smart, intense and captivating story. As of late, I have been inundated with fluff eroticish romances with authors who barely earn the unexceptional accolade of penning an average book. Endless novels crowd the virtual shelves of Amazon that are filled with countless formulaic descriptions and mediocre text, but this one is different. This unusually narrated tale that skips between two different stories will undoubtedly draw a love/hate response. But if you love beautiful writing that sends the mind through a sensory spiral and books that keep you wondering right up to the very end, Sleeping in Eden shouldn’t be missed.

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SYNOPSIS: She 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.


THE LOWDOWN: Reading this book was near Kismet for me. As if it was drafted with my personal likes in mind. A story divided in two. One, a sad, lonely tale of a man desperately trying to hold his dying marriage together, while attempting to solve the mystery of an unknown dead woman. The other, which is told in each opposing chapter, is a young adult story about a girl torn between two boys; the safe one and the one who melts her heart with a simple glance. At first, I was confused… I just read the story of an adult male trying to make sense of his life and in the next chapter am swept into a very youthful story about a high school girl. It was hard to reconcile at first, but I understood within a couple chapters what was happening and I let go of my ambivalence and just went with it.

Each story, told with intensity, depth and a vivid brilliance, had me rereading sentences just to relive those moments, immersing me in the darkness or light with clarity. Her words were like a song, crafted with real emotion that isn’t common in today’s turn and burn literary industry, guiding us through various emotive webs, including redemption, deceit, unrequited love, abuse, death and healing. When the husband cries for his mistakes, I felt his deep despair. When a young girl is wrapped up in her first kiss with the boy she yearned for, my heart swooned then melted. I knew where each person was and what the room looked like, but her narration wasn’t expository or overly drawn out. And even though I saw where the story was going, I was never sure how it would play.

I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the Kindle. I stayed up late and woke early in desperate need to cross the finish line. Find out, for the sake of these characters that I was entirely invested in, what would become of them and their loved ones. It was a bold choice to design a non-linear story that weaves through time, but it is a choice I am thankful the author took. It wouldn’t have played out the same if the story was told any other way and the reader needed to understand each individual story explicitly in order to really appreciate the heartbreak and resilience of the human condition.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I can’t say enough good about this book, so I will end with a simple recommendation. Read Sleeping in Eden, it’s smart, beautiful, sad, intense and lovely.

Sara O'Connor
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