The book, God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo, has crossed my path several times over the past year, mostly as a must-read from some of my favorite authors (I’m looking at you, Tarryn Fisher). Someone else mentioned it this past week, and I finally decided to download the dang thing and read it, just so I could see what the whole hype was.

Before I get to what I thought of the book, I have to mention the author’s note Tiffanie DeBartolo includes before starting the story. I love when authors leave clues to the inspiration behind the story. In this note, Tiffanie shared her discovery of Jeff Buckley just before writing this book, how she listened to his Grace album in headphones on a flight home and was so moved by it, she could feel something churning inside her. And then she discovered he’d died a few years earlier, and how she’d discovered him too late to ever hear him perform live or create new music, and how this affected her so deeply she mourned his death like mourning the loss of someone she knew in real life.

And then, this novel poured out of her…and she wrote God-Shaped Hole while listening to the Grace album on repeat.

So when I started reading this novel, there was no choice but to read it while also listening to Grace on repeat. I’ve never been a huge Jeff Buckley fan, having heard his rendition of Hallelujah about a million times. Yes, it’s the best version of that song there is. But after hearing it a million times, I’m good. Or at least, I thought I was. Now? The Grace album has a special place in my heart, Track # 7 especially, and I blame Tiffanie DeBartolo and this book.

This book.

Let me tell you something about this book. I have never seen a love affair played out so beautifully as this book. The instant sparks that fly between Beatrice (Trixie) and Jacob is so believable, it makes sense when after five days of knowing each other, he suggests they live together. Because it makes sense – they belong to each other and there’s no other answer.

My favorite thing about this novel is how deeply both characters feel for each other. The way they think of each other first, or even just think about each other. Every sentiment expressed was so pure. Like this:

“I’d never seen a grown man cry like that before, so unself-consciously, so unashamedly. I didn’t know if he was crying for what he’d lost, or for what he’d never had, but there was a beauty in his tears that moved me more than I could ever explain with words—a beauty in the honesty of his sadness, in the grace of its purity. It was holy water raining down from the clouds in his eyes, falling to the sand then being carried back to the source from which it came—his blessed sea.”

There’s a clue in the beginning of the book that reveals how the whole thing ends. It’s not made to be a huge secret, but it did cause me some angst. The whole time I was reading, I inwardly begged the author not to do what I expected her to do. And then, of course, she did. But it was still beautiful, and I teared up, and I loved and hated it all at the same time. Days after finishing this book, I can safely say that I absolutely loved this book, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

God-Shaped Hole-heartedly.

Just read it, okay? If you love, and you want to see love done right, this is a book that will take your breath away.


Originally blogged here. Crissi Langwell is a Petaluma local, blended family mom to three young adults, and author of books with genres that include romance, women’s fiction, young adult, and magical realism. Visit Crissi’s author website at

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