Cover Image: The Girl from the Papers

The Girl from the Papers

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Member Reviews

*Set in Texas 1919-1932
* Bonnie & Clyde story
* Writing was good, but draggy at times
*Bea grew up in abusive home-stepfather
*Stained relationship with mother, rescued traumatized younger sister, and gave her better life
*Met Jack Turner and life became harder- always on the run
*Favorite character=Alli- mother figure, friend, Good Samaritan to Bea
*Loved the spiritual message that Jesus saves us, helps us, and gives us hope
*I didn’t care for alternating between the past and present- felt like reading the end before reading the beginning- why read the book if I already know the ending?

Thank you to NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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I have adored every book by Jennifer L. Wright and this one was no different. I loved her take on a Bonnie and Clyde pair. She does a great job at showing the redemption that is possible even for those who seem beyond repair. Such a good read!
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I wasn’t sure about this book, but the more I read I just had to find out what happened.
Beatrice Carraway is driven by her wish to seek fame.  This begins as a child attending beauty pageants, the more she goes to the more convinced she is that she is meant to be famous.
Then she pairs up with Jack Turner who already has a reputation , he then convinces her they deserve to have their names in print!
Who knew where this would lead!    Certainly not me, I have to say that I found the story confusing in places, especially when in Rose’s house.
Jack’s brother gets involved too much to the disappointment of his wife Alli who is a practicing Christian trying to make him see the error of his ways. Then she tries with Beatrice who has had bad experiences with her step father who believed he was on the earth to save them from themselves, mainly by using brute force and manipulation.  Bit too much my personal reading choices.
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First sentence: My mama always told me I would live and die as a nobody. Here at the end....I couldn't help but wish she'd been right. 

Premise/plot: The Girl From the Papers is inspired by the infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde. It is--for better or worse--published by a Christian publisher as Christian fiction. Beatrice Carraway, our heroine, falls head over heels with bad-boy, Jack Turner. These two have big, expensive dreams and want to live above and beyond the law. Both are reckless dreamers. 

While Jack Turner is in prison for his crimes, Beatrice hears the gospel and contemplates the Christian faith. But Jack has no use for God. She'll have to choose between being with Jack and loving him as is--with a dark heart and low values--or choosing the God who loves and forgives.

The plot mostly follows--though it seems to be condensed and perhaps slightly rearranged--the real life misadventures of Bonnie and Clyde. Mostly.

The author has given new names to all the major and minor players. But it's a loose disguise, in my opinion. Anyone who has read a book about the criminal duo will recognize not just Bonnie and Clyde but their gang and family members. 

My thoughts: I've read a handful of books about Bonnie and Clyde. I was conflicted by this one. On the one hand, without a doubt this does make for a fascinating historical read. On the other hand, no matter how you twist and turn it, finding sympathy and love for these two is difficult. 

It seems this one is mostly fan fiction with gospel sermons/presentations thrown in throughout the book. For better or worse. The ENDING for Bea is world's away from Bonnie's end. There are almost three hundred and fifty pages of reckless, ungodly living before you get to the redemption. I suppose Bea's disillusionment with the "Christian faith" and the "Christian church" and "established religion" may relate to some contemporary readers who have also been deeply hurt/bruised by Christians. 

I think some readers will absolutely love it. A few others may be turned off either by a) all the reckless sinning and immorality OR b) all the preaching. You can't please everybody. 

ETA: I hope this is being marketed as Christian fiction. I think if it is marketed as general fiction (secular), then readers will be UPSET with all the preaching. I didn't mind the preaching myself.
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4.5 stars
The true story of Bonnie and Clyde is a heartbreaking story of crime and murder, not one to be glorified. The unforgettable and thought-provoking story in The Girl From The Papers is a "what if " story based on Bonnie and Clyde but starring Jack and Bea instead. The author adeptly uses fiction to bring truth to the characters.

Brokenness, helplessness, and bitterness shape the life of poverty that Bea finds herself in. She wants so much more out of life. Bea meets the love of her life who wants more out of life too. Bad experiences with religion drive each one away from the faith they grew up with. A lesson in grabbing all you want no matter the method does not bring about happiness or peace. Bea has the unconditional love of Allie and Ruth despite her choices. We all experience brokenness, the question is what do we do next? Do we listen to those who tell us the truth in love? Do we allow ourselves to be transformed by the One who loves us?

What a difficult, compelling, and unforgettable story! Bravo to Jennifer L. Wright!

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to read an ecopy. All opinions are my own.
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I have a hard time reading Christian fiction. A lot of these types of books just aren’t that well done. The Girl from the Papers was well done. I loved it. I was rooting for all of the characters (even Jack), and I appreciated how realistic Bea’s faith journey was (back and forth, not one magical moment). Jennifer L. Wright may have very well changed my mind about this genre.
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I can't say that I have really been interested in reading more about Bonnie and Clyde, but something about this book caught my eye. I enjoyed the fictional retelling of their story, since it was interesting to dive into life in the early 1900's on the wrong side of the tracks. I can see how destructive the thought of being owed more in life can be, as well as the totally different path one can go down if a slightly different choice had been made (hello, Les Mis). I thought that the author did a wonderful job of blending history and fiction with this story!
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Based loosely on the famous couple Bonnie and Clyde, The Girl from the Papers tells the story of Bea a young women who has dreamed of a better life. She has a very dysfunctional family with a crazy abusive stepfather.  Her mother, sister and she flee to Dallas in hopes for a better life: but things really are no better. Bea meets Jack and instantly thinks he is her white knight. Jack is anything but a good guy.
Even though the story is a tough one to read, you will fall in love with all the characters and what they bring to the story. 
The story will stay with you long after you have read the last page.
I highly recommend this one. Thank you NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for my ARC.
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I have always been fascinated by crime and investigations. When I was younger, I’d watch shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigations…even when I wasn’t supposed to. My parents didn’t want me to see the bodies, the blood, the violence. At the time, I knew everything on the TV shows was fake, so nothing bothered me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve never lost that curiosity, between watching things like Criminal Minds and reading books by John Douglas. All that to say, my intrigue focuses more on the afterward—how do we catch the bad guy?—rather than the during, the crime itself. But an exception: the mob. Organized crime.

When I went to Las Vegas in 2021 for a conference, I had no interest in casinos, gambling or shows. I spent five hours at the Mob Museum, aka the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. One exhibit: Bonnie and Clyde. The Girl from the Papers by Jennifer L. Wright pulled me into its story from the moment I read the plot summary, and it never let go. Wright writes historical fiction as though born to do it. She took threads of Bonnie and Clyde’s true story and wove them together into her own unique novel. 

Beatrice Carraway wants to be a star, but life hasn’t cooperated no matter how hard she’s worked. When she meets Jack Turner, everything changes. She still wants her name in lights, but now she finds her fulfillment—and thrill—in love and crime. Eventually, the papers do feature her escapades, just…not in the way she originally intended. And by the book’s conclusion, she wants nothing to do with it anymore. This was not how her life with Jack was supposed to be.

My favorite part of The Girl from the Papers by Jennifer L. Wright: Its redemptive arc. Wright does not swerve from the “big questions” of Christianity. She portrays hard histories, and how flawed interpretations of “Christianity”—I put that in quotes for a reason—can impact people’s views of faith, sometimes forever. But we plant seeds. Living out the love of Jesus should make us shine as cities on hills. Wright demonstrates in this novel how Christians can help or hinder. How we can demonstrate the love of Jesus outside of a church. Faith should be based on an individual’s relationship with Christ. The Girl from the Papers exemplifies how one—one Christian—can turn someone’s life around if you’re willing to care.

The Girl from the Papers is beautiful. Entertaining with likeable characters, Jennifer L. Wright presents a story that readers of any genre will enjoy. Wright’s newest novel is quite possibly my favorite book of 2023 thus far.
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“I’m the girl from the papers. That’s who I am. That’s all I can be now.”

I only know Bonnie & Clyde by name and reputation; I haven’t really ever studied them or thought about what motivated them in their deadly crime sprees… or what could have happened had their reported background of faith really transformed their lives through a relationship with Jesus. But I’m so glad that author Jennifer L. Wright did take the time to research and imagine these things as she wrote The Girl from the Papers, a story of deeply flawed (and compelling) characters inspired by the infamous real life duo and their families.

Beatrice had my heart from the beginning. Even though she’s pretty arrogant and self-focused at first (unless it comes to her sister Eleanor), it all points to a deep heartache inside her – a searching to be ‘enough’ – that drew me to her in spite of her flaws. She truly is, even at such a young age, looking for love in all the wrong places… mostly through very little fault of her own in the beginning. She learns early on from her mother that desperation can cause people to do things they aren’t proud of, often at the expense of those they claim most to love. And while Beatrice is determined not to become her mother, I found them not to be wholly different after all. With one key exception that will set them apart in the end.

There’s a lot of grittiness in play in The Girl from the Papers. Bank robberies, car thefts, shootouts, alcoholism, abuse, murder. It’s clear that the author worked carefully to avoid either glamorizing the many sins or giving explicit details about them. Much is left to the reader’s imagination, and I felt the author achieved the perfect balance here. One word that kept coming to mind as I followed Beatrice & Jack’s criminal and sinful activities was ’empty’. Both of their souls were so empty. The money or cars they stole were not nearly enough to fill the void. A life on the run only leaves them more empty, and all that emptiness eventually leads you to the end of your rope. Wright so poignantly brings them both to that point and then beyond, and I was reading with bated breath, waiting for the dramatic implosion I knew would eventually catch up with them.

So yes, I thought of ’emptiness’ a lot as I read this book. But I also thought of the lyrics to the song ‘There Was Jesus’ by Zach Williams. Because even amid the tragic ache to their narrative, even though Beatrice is clinging to what she thinks is love, there is the beautiful hope of redemption. He always provides a way out, doesn’t He? And in The Girl from the Papers, that comes from Alli and Ruth, two characters I really liked who show Beatrice a true picture of Jesus’ love. Jesus, the One who truly loves her more than any other. The One who pursues her, despite her sin, and stands ready to lift her out of the pit. The choice is Beatrice’s to make – and Jack’s too, for that matter – but even when she tries to silence His voice, He is there in the pit with her, tenderly waiting for her to turn to Him. This was such a profound part of the book, as well as a convicting reminder that sometimes I may be the only exposure to Jesus that someone has. So sobering, humbling, and inspiring!

Bottom Line: The Girl from the Papers by Jennifer L. Wright takes readers on a tumultuous journey through the ‘public enemy’ fever of the 1930s, following a young couple who want to leave ‘not enough’ and make a name for themselves. The story is an extremely compelling exploration of the choices we all are given, the ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ possibilities. Framed against a backdrop of the consequences of sin, the temptations of security, and the hopelessness of rock bottom, it is also laced with hope and wrapped in grace. The author beautifully weaves into the story an important message for Beatrice – for all of us: that the only one who gets to say who we are is the One who made us, who died for us, and who rose again to offer us redemption, forgiveness, true love, and eternal life. This story will linger with me long. An excellent selection for your next book club read!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)
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Want a book with a compelling story that gives insights into culture, American prejudice, and immigrant restrictions? This is it! Highly recommended.

It's a good novel in itself but the story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. You'll want to read it all, including in the messy middle. If you thought your life was complicated and hard, enter the world of Bea and Jack - you'll grieve, laugh, wonder, and most of all consider where your own choices are taking you.
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The Girl from the Papers was a novel of a Bonnie and Clyde couple with many similarities to the original couple.   This was so well written that it grabbed my attention and kept it.   There were so many “what ifs” brought to mind as I read.  The Girl from the Papers was both entertaining but also thought provoking.  Readers interested in a historical theme and/or Christian thread throughout a novel would enjoy The Girl from the Papers.  
                  This wasn’t a novel to glamorize the life of Bonnie and Clyde. This was not an attempt to recreate their lives although many similarities existed between the fictional and non fictional characters. Bonnie and Clyde were raised in Christian homes and yet became some of the most notorious outlaws . The fictional characters Jack and Beatrice equally had Christian influencers in their lives and were faced with some of the same decisions.  No spoilers here on which direction they took.  
           The Girl from the Papers would make a fantastic book club selection.  There are so many themes throughout the book which would lead to wonderful discussions.  One of them is loving others with a Christ-like love even when it is not easy.  A note from the author at the end of the book  provides even more information to guide the conversations.   
	This was not an easy book to read at times as it did include the topic of spousal abuse and emotional abuse by a parent.  There was also a person who abused in the name of Christianity.   But the Girl From the Papers was written in a careful, sensitive way that helped the reader understand the characters of Jack and Beatrice better by including these subjects.  
	I received a complimentary copy of The Girl from the Papers from Net Galley with no obligations other than an honest opinion.
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A love story that is equal parts excitement and heartbreak where you are both angry and understanding of the main characters. Its a good example of what someone is capable of in the pursuit of love and attention. An overall enjoyable book. Thanks #NetGalley
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The Girl from the Papers by Jennifer L. Wright is based on the true story of Bonnie and Clyde (do read the author's notes) in the 1930s during the Great Depression.  This story has always intrigued me and learning more about what the pair could have been like under different circumstances made for fascinating reading.  The sometimes sad and always riveting story is about choices, loyalty and redemption.  Amongst the aspects I love most about this author is that her writing paints pictures with words and she clearly shows what it is to live a faith-filled Christian life in spite of our imperfections.  God's redeeming power is complete.  

Beatrice Carraway grows up in the pageant world while a child.  However, her family plummets into poverty.    Enter Jack Turner whose glamorous life appeals to her greatly.  They begin a crime spree which feeds their desire for adventure and notoriety.  After a time the lifestyle grows too much for Bea and the couple begins to want different things.  Though they don't know it at the time they are searching and there is only One who holds the answers.  

If you are seeking a powerful and addictive book with a touch of darkness, this may be exactly what you need.  The story is thoroughly researched and well told with such rich detail and characterization I felt I was there.  This is an auto-read author for me.

My sincere thank you to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this mesmerizing novel.
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The Girl from the Papers is a historical novel that features the fictional couple of Beatrice and Jack--- a couple whose lives are loosely based on those of Bonnie and Clyde but answers the question of 'what if they listened to their faith?'. I know the basics of the Bonnie and Clyde story only, so I can't say exactly how close their story mirrors that of Beatrice and Jack (aside from those mentioned in the author's note), but I found this fictional story so intriguing! While their backstory was filled with so many challenges and struggles that made Beatrice sympathetic, it also didn't glamourize or justify the life they were living either. Instead, it offered a unique story about redemption and God's ability to change hearts and forgive using these characters who are certainly not typically seen in Christian fiction. 

Overall, this was a well-written and interesting read. Fans of historical fiction or true crime are certain to enjoy this one. 

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All opinions are my own.
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** “He loves you. And it’s a love you can’t outrun or outsin. He knows every thought you’ve had, every word you’ve said, everything you’ve ever done — and yet still He loves you.” **

Jennifer L. Wright delivers a straight-from-the-headlines fictionalized story inspired by the infamous Bonnie and Clyde in “The Girl from the Papers.”

As Beatrice Carraway tries to overcome past trauma and her lower station in life, she meets the intriguing and exciting Jack Turner, who pulls her into a life of crime — and freedom — she never anticipated. As they scramble to fight their way up in life, she also befriends Jack’s sister-in-law Alli, who shows her what life can be like found in God’s love.

Wright creates an intense, action-filled story filled with heart-thumping moments. She develops characters the reader can’t decide whether to root for or against. And she fills “The Girl from the Papers” with several great themes, like the implications of never feeling good enough and always striving to better one’s self; what happens when we build a prison of guilt; God love us, no matter what, and therefore we can’t outrun God’s love; and there’s only One who can define us (“You are more than what people call you. The names others give us, those things they say about us … they don’t define us. They’re not who we are. The only one who can every truly define us is the One who made us.”)

Fans of historical fiction will love “The Girl from the Papers,” which is due out Aug. 8.

Five stars out of five. 

Tyndale House Publishers provided this complimentary copy through NetGalley for my honest, unbiased review.
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This book is a Christian historical fiction with a redemptive reimagining of the true story of Bonnie and Clyde. I found the story to be engaging and fast paced, with a lot of accurate historical details. The Girl from the Papers explores heavy themes such as poverty, broken families and relationships, depression, and loneliness. Through all of these heavy topics the author also tells a story of hope and redemption that can be found in Jesus in the words and actions of two of the story's characters.

The main character, Beatrice Carraway, starts life in the limelight as a childhood pageant competitor and is moderately successful. After Bea’s father dies, she ages out of the pageant circle not earning any winnings and not helping to support the family's income. Bea’s mother marries a man to give their family financial stability, which ends up being such an abusive situation that Bea almost dies one night from her stepfather’s abuse in the name of God. Bea, her sister Eleanor, and her mother escape to her grandparents home in West Dallas, but end up in an even more grave situation of poverty. It’s while living in West Dallas and working as a waitress to make ends meet that Bea meets Jack Turner, a man who is a small-time criminal whom she falls in love with. After getting laid off from her job, Bea turns to Jack and together they embark on a crime spree to support themselves justified by being poor and having nobody to help them.

I appreciated that the author depicted Bea and Jack in a believable way, without glorifying the sin that they were so deeply entrenched in. Bea has been told most of her life that she’s a “nobody”, “not a star”, and describes herself as “trash from West Dallas”. Jack after being arrested blames the depression and the prison system on his lot in life and uses that to justify continuing and escalating his life of crime. Their reactions to Jack’s brother and sister-in-law’s God is made believable by the hardships they have endured, and make the redemptive part of this story highlight God’s grace and mercy to everyone.

I also liked how the author included a note at the end of the book talking about the history of Bonnie and Clyde giving a bit more information about this duo and their reign of terror at the time.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for those who enjoy christian historical fiction. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for the copy of the eARC I read. All opinions are my own.
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Jennifer L. Wright succeeds in writing another incredible book!

Her beautiful writing drew me in from the get-go (a nice contrast to the fiction book I tried and failed to finish right before this). The plot was a challenge at times—very much focused on the MC and her pretty poor life choices, heh, which were just dang depressing after a while! I mean, it comes with the territory, especially as the book is based on Bonnie and Clyde; not to mention the Depression and all. It’s certainly very realistic! Just sometimes I felt like neither the MC nor the reader could catch a break. :)

I absolutely loved Alli as a character, and would have liked to see more of Rose as well. But, for what we do have to work with, this was insightful, thought provoking, and ultimately inspiring.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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"..According to Rose, the love of Jesus was big enough. He'd covered her grief, the heartache of her own life. But after everything I'd done, was the perfect love of Jesus big enough to cover pitiful, imperfect me?"

There was so much about this book I loved. Some of the quotes and theology  were perfectly on point. I'm not sure how many page corners I dog-eared to go back and highlight later. Seriously, there were a lot! 

The love between Jack and Bea wasn't perfect, but I think it was genuine. Flawed, most definitely, but real. 

And yet, there were some things that sadly missed the mark. 

While Bea and Jack were criminals just like Bonnie and Clyde, and the author in no way glorified their crimes (thank you for that!), some of the content I would have really preferred not to be there. 

Scenes with a bit of blood, shootouts, and the slums of west Texas? Not a problem. But a very flirty waitress trading tips for "favors"? Problem. 

An unmarried couple in the book shacks and thinks it's "fun to play house for a night". And we see them in their room talking and climbing in bed. There's no details or intimacy, but I do NOT like open door scenes in any book.  Also when the same couple had a wreck, while his girlfriend was unconscious and bleeding, he changed her clothes. *cringes* Ok, I really, really didn't need to know that!

Some of the characters also drink a good bit of booze. So, if you have an alcohol addiction, this could be a problem for you. 

This was a book that I wrestled with on how to rate. So much good, a captivating writing style and poetic thoughts, but with enough negative content that it spoiled some of the reading enjoyment. 

So regrettably, I'm rating this 3.5 stars. Kudos on the writing style though, which was stellar.  I enjoyed most of this book, and the cover artwork was top-notch!

Thank you the author and publisher for the complimentary paperback I received through LibraryThing, as well as the complimentary e-book I received through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and the thoughts above are my own.

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse and violence, alcoholism
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As a child, Beatrice supported her family by winning beauty pageants.  When she starts loosing, her Mother dresses up, and lands herself a rich man.  The man is abusive, violent, and highly religious.  Beatrice and her sister force their Mom to choose, and she reluctantly chooses her daughters.  They move to West Dallas, Texas, where they are emeshed in poverty.   Working at a diner, Beatrice longs to escape.  When Jack Turner turns her head, she falls for his fast lifestyle.  Together, they begin robbing stores, and then banks.

This book had amazing character development.  The characters felt very realistic and dynamic.  I felt for Beatrice and the decisions she had to make.  The plot line was a bit predictable, but that's because it was based off Bonnie and Clyde.  I wish the author had done more to separate the two stories.  Overall, 4 out of 5 stars.
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