'What Lies Between' by Charlena Miller follows Ellie Jameson, a young woman who has recently inherited an estate in Scotland. Filled with an unexpected grief over the loss of a father she barely knew, Ellie sets about finishing the renovations to her family's home. Just as the grief, the love she finds in the Highlands comes as a surprise; it's not just love and trust she finds in a handsome Scotsman, but love for a land she never knew was hers. Her love for her home.
There are few novels that are beautiful. 'What Lies Between' is one of them. At first it follows the typical storyline of most romance movies and novels, but it soon became apparent there was so much more than a simple romance novel. Each relationship has a special focus, even the one between Ellie and Jazz, the border collie. Never has there been a more beautiful description of someone fully opening themselves to another, discovering a new part of their inner self. The love that develops between Ellie and Ben feels so natural. They don't fall in love overnight, and that realism is part of what makes this novel so good.
As few as they are, I must still mention the flaws. The biggest: no reference to Gerard Butler. Although if this turns into a movie, he has to play Ben. Obviously. On a more serious note, the arguments and skirmishes between the men seemed at times to be a bit juvenile and repetitive, but allowed the plot to continue. I have to say that while I am annoyingly good at predicting an entire novel, the end had a twist I had not been expecting. It was refreshing, and I apologize for saying there's a twist. Something to look forward to.
Overall, Miller's novel is a must-read. She describes the Highlands in such a haunting and beautiful way, and while I have never been to Scotland I have been welcomed in a Scottish/Irish community and can say how lovely the comparison was. This is not a romance novel, but rather a novel that explores what happens when a woman - torn and bruised by the past - allows love and friendship to be the brightest light in her life, the hidden galaxies behind the grain of sand.