April 12, 2022

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Erin Bartel

Erin Bartels’s novels have been described as moving, compelling, engaging, heartfelt, entertaining, and thought-provoking. While each novel weaves a different tale, Bartels maintains a common thread of redemption throughout each of her works. In her newest novel, The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water, Bartel explores the theme of forgiving what seems unforgivable and also addresses how our memories may not be exactly 
as we remember.

When Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather’s old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from a Very Disappointed Reader that’s keeping her from writing her next novel as long as its claims go unanswered. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend’s brother—and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book—in order to prove to herself that she told the truth, as all good
novelists should.

What Kendra discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. Facing Tyler isn’t easy, but facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. Kendra will have to start asking the right questions if she is ever to settle her mind, make her peace, and write her next book. Will she discover what matters most before it’s too late?

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels searches the heart with this lyrical exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.

Erin Bartels is the award-winning author of All That We Carried, 2020 Christy Award finalist The Words between Us, and We Hope for Better Things, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, 2020 WFWA Star Award winner, and 2019 Christy Award finalist. A publishing professional for twenty years, she is the current director of WFWA’s annual writers retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son. Find her online at

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