When I Close My Eyes: A Novel

When I Close My Eyes: A Novel

by Elizabeth Musser


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Could she ever share the secret of The Awful Year?

There is one story that novelist Josephine Bourdillon shirked from writing. And now she may never have a chance. Trapped in her memories, she lies in a coma.

The man who put her there is just as paralyzed. Former soldier Henry Hughes failed to complete the kill. What's more: he never received full payment—funds that would ensure surgery for his son.

As detectives investigate disturbing fan letters, a young but not-so-naïve Paige Bourdillon turns to her mother's turbulent past for answers. Could The Awful Year be worse than the one they're living now?

Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764234446
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/05/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 94,919
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, lives and works with her husband in southern France. She is the author of ten novels, including the critically acclaimed The Swan House. Visit Elizabeth's website at

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When I Close My Eyes: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
floraljoy 13 days ago
Heart wrenching: What an amazing book! It grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I had to hang on for a roller coaster ride of plot twists and emotional angst. I loved the beautiful writing style with deeply describe sentences. Whilst there were different timelines and triple points of view, it still flowed well. The characters were all authentic, facing real life emotions and struggles and I found myself rooting for them all, including the "villian". The story was rather tragic and heart wrenching but it was simultaneously poignant and quite beautiful as it explored some deep truths. There was mystery and intrigue surrounding 'The Awful Year' and I wanted to just keep on reading in order to find out how everything would be resolved. I felt the author dealt with the issues of depression and PTSD honestly and respectfully. It was especially touching reading in the author's notes about her own struggles with depression and that must be why it felt so real and touching in the novel. Thank you to Ms. Musser for being willing to be so open and transparent in order to shed light on this issue. So whilst this book was quite sad and tragic, it was also about hope, grace, forgiveness and mercy. It showed how we have to completely surrender to God's grace and redemptive mercy but when we do there is freedom to truly live in Christ. I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Patricia Hinojosa 14 days ago
This is my first novel from Elizabeth Musser and I’m still in awe at her incredible talent to bring a realistic, heart wrenching and poignant tale to life with such beauty and emotion. The story is narrated through three different point of views. Josephine, a famous writer that has a murder attempt and lies in a coma in the hospital (we get her insights through flashbacks of her life since she was 6 years old), Henry, her assassin, a man with a mental illness who does it out of desperation to get funds to pay for his 7 year old son who needs an urgent heart surgery, and Paige, Josephine’s teenage daughter who wants to understand her mother’s past in order to understand her better and bring some light to her murder attempt. This is not your typical romance novel, even if there might be a little bit of sweet and clean love scenes. This story deals with real life issues that we can relate to, maybe through our personal lives and struggles, or that of a family member or dear friend. This story deals with depression, anxiety, trauma, desperation, guilt, but at the same time, it brings a ray of light through a beautiful message of forgiveness (for one self and then for others), of trusting God with your broken soul, and trusting that only Him can bring true healing and good to us, even through our mistakes and weaknesses. And that He NEVER forsakes us. That is a beautiful and sometimes hard truth to acknowledge, when our faith is not strong. My heart ached for this two grieving families. Henry was a man that tore at my heart. He was abused by his father and educated in a way that you had to get what you needed at whatever cost. That got him to behold his father’s murder after being caught in a thievery. That and dealing with PTSD after being in the military for some years. He’s a broken soul, and he acts out of desperation. But the murder he attempted failed and he doesn’t know what to do. So he instinctively buys his victim’s book, and dwelling in those pages will bring out some truths he was never aware of. Was his failure the providence of God? Is there a chance to redeem himself? But what of his little boy? How can this explain the existence of a loving God? I was mesmerized by the whole story. The mystery element: the intrigue about who ordered Josephine’s death, the secrets about “that awful year”, the wondering of how these families could be healed and restored, keep you guessing and captivate you until the end. It is definitely love and only LOVE that can restore a broken soul. And, in the most perfect way, the most unconditional LOVE which is God’s love. Thank you, Elizabeth Musser, for such an inspiring, human and compassionate story! I totally recommend it! You will end with a feeling of purpose and hope at the end.
Momof9Kids 14 days ago
I had no idea what this book was about when I began reading but it touched me on a deep emotional level. This is a story with many layers and a lot of secrets. As novelist Josephine Bourdilllon lies in a coma in a hospital, much of her life passes through her memories…her thoughts center mostly on her family. She remembers her childhood, her parents, and her sister, Kit. She remembers her husband, Patrick, and their daughters, Hannah and Paige. She cannot quite understand what has happened to her. She doesn’t remember having an accident so why can’t open her eyes and why does it feel as if she keeps drifting off into darkness. She can hear the voices of her loved ones and struggles to come back to them. And then there is Henry…driven by love and desperation, Henry has committed a heinous act…he is frantic, his thoughts scattered. How is he going to help his Libby and their son, Jase, if someone finds out what he did? He struggles with guilt and longs to know if there really is such a thing as grace and forgiveness…and if there is, does it extend to someone like him? Hannah and Paige are frantic and so worried about their beloved Momma. Will she ever wake up, and if she does, will she ever be the same? The police are asking so many questions and what will they do if they are asked about “the awful year” when so much loss entered their lives? Can they guard their family secrets or will it all come out? They spend hours going through Josephine’s fan mail…reading emails and letters in an effort to find out who harmed their mother and why. Patrick sits beside the love of his life and prays as he wonders who would do this awful thing to Feeny and why? Was it a random act or someone who was angered over something in one of her books? Is now the time to come clean about the secret he has guarded for so many years…even from his daughters? He wants to be free of the lies and he wants his family together again. This book will hold you captive until you turn the last page…with two surprise twists at the end. When I Close My Eyes is a book that deals with topics that many people do not want to discuss such as; regret, shame, family secrets, depression, and suicide. Elizabeth Musser has done an excellent job of writing this story with care and sensitivity. It is a book that impacted me in a big way and one that I will not soon forget. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a review.
DixieJudy 16 days ago
When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser is such a different book. It is a deeply moving book, full of drama with very believable characters. A book that will draw you in from the very first chapter. It deals with serious depression but in a well written way. You cannot always tell what goes on in the heart/life of a person. Even though it seems they are famous and well adjusted, they may be fighting their own demons. This book was emotionally charged, deeply thought provoking and you will find it hard to lay down, and the ending was so surprising and different........ Thank you to Bethany House Publishing and NetGalley for this book. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
Mgt_Nelson_12 28 days ago
This is a powerful book about living with depression, creativity/art, forgiveness, family relationships, love, sacrifice... In many ways it reads like a murder mystery, with multiple suspects, red herrings, clues slipped in here and there, and an unexpected solution. One of the main character's daughters says “Momma writes truth in a way that gets into people's hearts,” and I find that sums up Elizabeth Musser's writing for me. This may not be an easy book to read, but it is worth reading. I highly recommend it! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #WhenICloseMyEyes #NetGalley
JeanneAC 3 months ago
I could not stop reading this book! Thank you Elizabeth Musser for incorporating the seriousness of depression with candor and hope. I think you are so brave for writing this story. The characters are so real, the story line so believable, and the touch of suspense kept me reading into the early hours of the morning. I highly recommend it to all story lovers, anyone needing extra grace, and especially to anyone who suffers from depression, or anyone who loves someone who suffers. Well done. Thank you to Bethany House and Net Galley for the early copy of When I close my Eyes. All opinions are my own.
tealovingbookworm 3 months ago
There’s so many profound issues cleverly presented in this engrossing novel, the most striking being that of depression and its effects on a family. The subject of depression is portrayed in a very sensitive yet realistic way. Written in the voices of the three main characters, I was at once drawn into their stories. It centers around the attempted murder of a popular Christian author, Josephine, and the search for her assassin. But so many other intricate, yet relatable characters’ stories are woven throughout. What was the Awful Year they allude to about? This is one book I guarantee will keep you up all night reading and thinking about long after the last page. Thank you to Bethany House Publishing and NetGalley for sending me this book. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
irishniff 3 months ago
What an amazing story! From the very beginning, I was hooked. I loved how the lives of these characters intersected and affected one another. The writing was touching and real. I found the perspective of an author’s life very interesting. With themes of forgiveness, grace, hope and finding light in the darkness, there is a lesson for everyone. The author’s respect and appreciation of people dealing with depression and PTSD is evident. I think that books discussing these issues are so important in our world today. I hope that many people will pick up this book. This is the first book that I have read by Elizabeth Musser but it won’t be the last. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
LifeofLiterature 4 months ago
Oh. My. Goodness. This book was emotionally charged, deeply thought provoking, and seriously amazing! I absolutely fell in love with each of these characters as they face tests of faith regarding God’s purpose and plan for their lives. There are realistic struggles with depression and the overwhelming demonstration of forgiveness. I found myself crying more than once over the emotion behind what each character experienced. It was extremely difficult to put the book down, and even when I paused in reading to do activities of my daily life, I found the words and themes of the story sticking with me. The ending is so beautiful and wraps everything up well. The writing was real and touching. The author has such a unique ability to craft such rich characters and themes! It was easy to connect with the characters and to relate to their growth and the spiritual lessons to my own life. Like all of her novels, Elizabeth Musser pens yet another book that is deeply powerful and definitely worth the read. I cannot recommend this book enough! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.