Everything Is Just Beginning (2023)

About the Book

Book: Everything Is Just Beginning

Author: Erin Bartels

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: January 17, 2023

An Immersive Story of Music, Struggle, and Starting Over from an Award-Winning Author

Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he’s not sure he’ll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year’s Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It’s for his uncle, with whom he shares his name, but his uncle is going out of town . . .

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989–as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible–Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures.

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels enchants with this story of two lonely souls who have exactly what the other one needs–if they could simply turn their focus from what is ending to what is just beginning.

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My Thoughts

Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels is phenomenal. This story hurt me deeply (but in a good way). It wreaked my heart. It left me sobbing. But it also left me feeling good and blessed and fortunate and full of trust that God has good, good plans for us all. Reading this story was hard, yet cathartic. I was forced to visit some feelings I like to leave buried deep. I loved it. I loved every single minute of this story and I am so sad my time with it is done…for now. This is definitely a book I will read again and again.

So, what did I love? I’m really digging Historical Fiction stories set when I was actually alive. There seems to be a trend lately of setting books in the 80s and 90s, and I am all for it. It’s fun to remember a truly simpler time. I know everyone says that about their generation, but just think about the 80s and 90s. Compared to today, it was simpler. No cell phones, no social media, no selfies, no constant connection to everyone’s business. It was rad movies and even cooler music. It was best friends, malls, and super awesome concerts. Things were just better. I miss those days and I really love getting to visit them again in stories like Everything Is Just Beginning.

I adore the entire Wheeler family. They are my absolute favorite aspect to this story. What a fantastic family. Dusty is an excellent father and husband who understands that life, family, love are all time limited. His character reminded me that we cannot take for granted our loved ones. The time we have with them is fixed and finite, and we must cherish every second as if it could be our last. Deb, the matriarch of the family, is my most favorite character. She had me in tears the whole time. What a wonderful, beautiful, wise woman. She is someone who gets life. She gets that our purpose on this planet is to serve God and God alone. Her acceptance of others, her ability to offer forgiveness, her selflessness — she is truly one of the most precious characters I have ever had the privilege to read. She reminds me of my best friend, Lara, who passed two and half years ago to cancer. Lara was just like Deb. There is a moment where Michael (the main character) states: “Around the space, people smiled and nodded in recognition. They knew what it was like to feel alone in the world. And because of Deb, they knew what it was like to feel that they’d finally been found” (303). That was Lara. She drew lonely, sad, broken, uniquely odd people to her. She believed God made her to see those whom most people never gave a glance to. I was blessed to be one of those people and my life was completely changed because of her friendship. And then there is Natalie. Natalie is pretty, talented, and blessed. She, like her mother, sees people, which is ironic considering she is blind (not a spoiler — you find this out immediately in chapter one). I love how she sees potential in Michael and changes his life for the better. I love how she puts him in his place when he needs it, but is also the soft landing place he needs when times get unfairly rough. And I really love their shared love and respect for all things music.

Finally, Everything Is Just Beginning is a book that spoke to me. It reminded me to be less self-focused and more open to the people around me. How many opportunities and gifts from God do I miss because I am so stuck on myself? Instead of whining and complaining about how unfair things are or have been or seem to be to me, I need to open my eyes, step outside of myself, and see all the blessings that surround me. Ultimately, this story is a remarkable, memorable, bittersweet journey. I am so blessed for having taken it. If you have not yet read this book, I implore you to purchase a copy today. This poignant story is not to be missed!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on January 22, 2023, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

8 thoughts on “Everything Is Just Beginning (2023)

  1. Great review! I found so much to like about this book, but the character of Deb reminded me of the sacrificial love of the Lord. She gave her all to everyone she met. What a beautiful character! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book. If you have never read Susie Finkerbein she is another favorite of mine who deals with difficult topics in historical fiction in a breathtaking and eye-opening way.

    Liked by 1 person

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