The Light on Halsey Street

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Pub Date 05 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 05 Oct 2023

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Two girls’ lives are irrevocably intertwined the summer of 1985 in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and neither will ever be the same in this coming-of-age story that spans decades.

In the summer of 1985, Lisa Whitaker is a church kid headed to college on a scholarship while her best friend, Dana, is floundering in the wake of her mother’s latest eviction. Though Lisa tries to help, their paths diverge. Fifteen years later, Lisa has a beautiful family and is stepping into her dream job as the director for a social services organization. Everything is going right—until her future is snatched away by identity theft. Her life begins to unravel, and Lisa wants nothing more than to see the woman responsible pay for her crimes.

When she was a teenager, Dana Jones always felt alone in this world. Her mother was addicted to drugs, her boyfriend was entering a life of crime, and it seemed Dana, too, was heading down the wrong path. The only bright light was her friendship with Lisa. Now, in the new millennium, Dana finally gives herself permission to dream—to believe she is stepping into better days. But when the betrayal of their friendship comes to light, it will take a lifetime to forgive the destruction that youthful summer in Bed-Stuy set in motion.

In this latest story from beloved author Vanessa Miller, two girls from the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, find that their paths have been woven together by the love of community and a friendship that is tested by time, betrayal, and unforgiveness.

  • Inspirational Christian fiction
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Perfect for fans of Tara M. Stringfellow, Terry McMillan, and Kimberla Lawson Roby
  • Book length: approximately 85,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

Two girls’ lives are irrevocably intertwined the summer of 1985 in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and neither will ever be the same in this coming-of-age story that spans decades.

In the summer of...

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ISBN 9780840709936
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Average rating from 57 members

Featured Reviews

The summer that Dana and Lisa graduated from high school, Lisa has plans to attend college and Dana is looking for a job. Dana and Lisa met in elementary school when Lisa shares her lunch with her because Dana does not have a lunch or any way to buy one. As the years go by, they remain friends although Lisa has two parents who are involved in her life and care about what she does. As a family they attend church each week. Dana lives with only her mother who is an addict and has various men in and out of their apartment. She does not pay much attention to Dana, who comes and goes as she wants. Lisa’s parent’s caution her about hanging out with the wrong crowd and in questionable places. Dana who lacks any sort of parenting makes some unfortunate choices that affects her for many years to come.
This is story that touched my heart from the very beginning. It follows the path of two young girls into womanhood with families of their own. In some places I read through the tears in my eyes and in other places my heart filled with happiness, and I even laughed out loud. Dana and Lisa’s lives took different paths, however, both learned the value of forgiveness and learning that no matter what they have done, God loves them.
The characters are unforgettable and so very relatable. There are many ups and downs, along the path of life for both Dana and Lisa. In the end, they once again come back together on Halsey Street, where the light is bright, and their relationship began years earlier. When I turned the last page of this beautiful, heartwarming story, I continued to think of Dana and Lisa and God’s redemptive, healing power in our lives when we let Him in.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Absolutely fantastic plot! Could not put the book down once I began reading it. Cannot wait for it to be released. Will recommend it to everyone I know!

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This book started out slow for me but I am glad I continued reading this story. This book will have you experiencing so many emotions. You were able to connect with both of the main characters in so many ways. I love the mural that was mentioned in this story. I commend the author for bringing out how we can hold on to stuff that can make us bitter, it can effect your health and others around you. This is a struggle for many today. This book shared about forgiveness, friendship, love and so much more. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

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I really enjoyed this story. In fact, it was hard for me to not keep reading, and I finished it in a day!
The story is so well written and flows easily. The descriptions of the characters and the actual city are well done and I could visualize myself on the streets at times.
It begins in 1985 and actually spans through over twenty years, taking place in Brooklyn, NY.
There are many different subjects throughout the chapters that were dealt with during these years.
Addiction, alcohol, hatred, friendship, neglect and death were amongst the many horrors that Dana and Lisa as well as their tribe of friends were witness to.
This is simply just a wonderful, emotional read that I believe will be a definite favorite among many!
Thank you to @NetGalley and @Thomas Nelson--Fiction for this ARC and allowing me to read and provide my own review.

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A heartfelt , poignant journey of friendship , love ,loss and forgiveness between two women in Brooklyn ,nyc . True friends may drift a thousand miles away but even a thousand miles cannot keep them apart .

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Lisa is about to head off for her freshman year in college. She can go home from college each evening but she prefers staying in a dorm on campus. Her father is worried about paying the bills. She only has a partial scholarship. Lisa and her Dad are not communicating well. It is just one big yelling match. Dana, her friend, has her troubles too. Her Mom is not handling life well. She is a single mom. Lisa also is dating a boy who could get her in a load of trouble. We are talking police trouble. There are many problems on Halsey Street. Both girls need someone bigger than them to help. Lisa thinks life will become better if they go to church and pray to Jesus. There are few famous people within the pages of ""The Light on Halsey Street.." by Vanessa Miller: Michael Jordan, Elsie Richardson, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.,Eddie Murphy and Shirley Chisholm. As usual, Thomas Nelson makes room for the name of Jesus in the story. Every time you stop reading for a while, you can not wait to get back to the book again.

has been worried about her mother. Probably, she will worry more when she is away from home. Dana's life is rather complicated at this time. Lisa, her friend, tries hard to say the right words to make her feel better.

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I was sent a complimentary copy of "The Light on Halsey Street" by Vanessa Miller,and the opinions expressed are my own.
This was a beautiful story about forgiveness and redemption. Regardless to what you face in life, how you may have been wronged or felt life hasn't been fair, this story brings a message of hope. God is always in control and is just waiting for us to submit, surrender and give him authority over our lives. I loved this story and I'm sure anyone else who reads it will feel the same way!

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"The Light on Halsey Street" has officially become one of my favourite books. It touched me on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin.

I saw good men and I believed again in the saving power of Jesus.

I believed again in God being in charge of the world no matter how bad things still happen all over.

I fell in love with Lisa and Dana, like they were real women I could touch and share in their joys and sorrows. They exemplified the lives of ordinary women like me full of mistakes, driven by passion even when hope seemed far away.

Vanessa Miller has become one of my best authors in the whole wide world. Her books are going to be one of the collections I pass down to my next generation if I get the chance and lay hands on them.

An amazingly awesome read!!!!

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Absolutely stunning. I read it in one sitting. I cried. I smiled. My heart broke and my heart healed. The Light on Halsey Street by Vanessa Miller is the story of two friends in Brooklyn and how life shapes and changes them. And how God’s plan is bigger and better than any of our own. Thank you to Vanessa Miller and thank you to NetGalley and thank you to the publisher. Definitely one of my favorites this year.

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I'm a fan of Vanessa Miller. I enjoyed this jaunt into the past. The 80's Brooklyn aspects held my attention, but more than that, the story of these women was powerful. As always, Miller had me examining myself and my choices and in this privilege.

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I really enjoyed this wholesome story about Lisa and Dana and how their lives stay intertwined from the moment they meet in 1st grade. They live in the same neighborhood but have very different home lives. Lisa has married parents that go to church every Sunday. Dana has a single mom who is an addict, and they are constantly getting evicted. This leads to Dana hanging out with the wrong crowd but Lisa is still on the fringes. This story starts in 1985, jumps 10 years, then jumps 10 more years and tells the story for each decade. It's a story of community, loyalty, friendship, family, addiction, forgiveness, and so much more. Highly recommend this one!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for advanced copy, and I give my review freely

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I absolutely loved this book! The writing was really good, the characters were real, and it's just a great story (be sure to read the author's note at the end). I really loved the characters! Lisa and Dana had struggles that I could not relate to, but they were told in such a way that I got a new perspective and appreciation for what people in their situations go through. This story really opened my eyes. I need another Vanessa Miller book ASAP! Highly highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Starting in the 1980s, this story follows two friends from high school until adulthood in their 50s. Lisa is the straightlaced church girl who is excited about going off to college. Her friend, Dana, is trying to find her place in the world, but as she ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people, she finds herself in jail. This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming as Lisa and Dana navigate their lives in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn. Highly recommend this book for lovers of women's fiction.

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I enjoyed the nostalgic look at the year 1985 and all that was going on in the world at the time. Lisa Whitaker and Dana Jones became friends at school. They were both only children. Lisa was brought up in a Christian family that ran a grocery business. She was eager to leave for college so she could return and support her neighborhood.

After graduating from high school, Dana started hanging out with the wrong crowd and started down a path Lisa refused to pursue. As Lisa left for college, Dana started looking for a job, it was hard because her mother was an addict. Both go their separate ways. Years later an event neither of them could have anticipated brings them together.

This coming-of-age story spans four decades. Despite taking various paths in life, Dana and Lisa both come to understand the importance of friendship, family, and forgiving others. Drug and alcohol addiction, alcoholism, violence, robbery, neglect, atonement, forgiveness, and taking accountability for one's acts are just a few of the subjects covered in this book. When individuals fail to understand that everyone has sinned and needs to be forgiven, resentment and a hard heart only increase.

I appreciated the author's depiction of how reacting badly to mistakes and pursuing justice at all costs results in anguish, hatred, health issues, and a negative effect on others around you. I appreciated the natural, non-preachy way in which this was done. This is a touching tale that you won't soon forget.

Disclosure Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog

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Vanessa Miller did not disappoint. Although I've never been to New York, I felt like I was in the midst of these character's lives. The author painted such a vivid story. My heart bled for Dana and all she went through. I found myself wanting to rescue her while being angered at those that judged her based on her mother's life. There is too much to say about this book without making this review a total spoiler so I'll just say please purchase it. Thank you Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

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Loved the writing as usual— Vanessa Miller writes in a way that doesn’t overcomplicate the story. I was invested and loved the message of forgiveness and moving on in this story.

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I had to get myself all the way together before I could write this review. The Light on Halsey Street was such an emotional read for me. I cried, laughed, shouted and fussed. I feel like every emotion I have was invoked. There were some events that brought back a whole lot of good memories and good times. There was also an event that hit me hard like it was my story being told. I believe all of us that grew up in the 80’s can relate to this book, even those that grew up in 90’s-00 will get something out this. God showed up and showed out more than once in these characters lives. I highly recommend this book.

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