Book review: Things We Couldn’t Explain by Betsy Tobin

23 Jan

things we couldnSome things just can t be explained. It s the summer of 79 and the small town of Jericho, Ohio is awash with mysteries. Anne-Marie is beautiful, blind, virginal and pregnant. Ethan is the boy next door who would do anything to win her heart. But when the Virgin Mary starts to appear in the sunset, the town is besieged by zealots, tourists and profiteers. Can love survive amidst the madness?

Things We Couldn’t Explain is written with warmth, humour and sensitivity and tells a story that will make you think, whatever your beliefs.

I almost passed this book by when I got the email asking me to review it; I’m a terrible one for judging books by their covers and I’m sorry to say, that this cover didn’t draw me in but then I clicked on the book trailer and I knew I had to read Things We Couldn’t Explain as soon as possible. Check it out here – it’s so cute and I love the music that goes with it.

The story is set in 1979 in the small American town of Jericho, Ohio.  Here we meet Anne-Marie and her next door neighbour Ethan. As characters go, these two are a perfect mix of wise and quirky and I took them both to my heart straight away. Anne-Marie is blind and her sightlessness makes her extra sensitive to other feelings and emotions. I loved her perceptiveness and her insights into people throughout the book and I thought Betsy Tobin rendered her experiences in a way that was completely believable.

Ethan and his family are the opposite of Anne-Marie and hers. Anne-Marie has a single mom, her aunt and her husband who is strictly protective and all of whom have strong religious beliefs. Ethan and his family don’t attend church but he will do anything to be with the girl he admires so much and soon adapts to fit into her life.

Against a backdrop of growing up, first love, friendship and teenage hopes and fears, the story of Anne-Marie’s mystery pregnancy plays out. I loved that this book took all of the questions that immediately sprung to my mind about how the situation could have occurred and throughout the course of the story, answered them.  This really is a novel that presents all sides of the story and absolutely did make me think about faith, science and the nature of the unexplained.

Things We Couldn’t Explain is a quirky, heartwarming and romantic read that will appeal to readers of all ages.


I’d like to thank Becke at BParkerPr for sending me a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Betsy and her writing at:

Things We Couldn’t Explain is out now in paperback and ebook formats.


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