Sleeping in Eden

A Novel

Sleeping in Eden

The lives of a middle-aged doctor and a love-struck young woman intersect across time in Sleeping in Eden, Nicole Baart’s haunting novel about love, jealousy, and the boundaries between loyalty and truth.

She knew what he wrote . . .

One little word that made her feel both cheated and beloved.

One word that changed everything.


On a chilly morning in the Northwest Iowa town of Blackhawk, Dr. Lucas Hudson is filling in for the vacationing coroner on a seemingly open-and-shut suicide case. His own life is crumbling around him, but when he unearths the body of a woman buried in the barn floor beneath the hanging corpse, he realizes this terrible discovery could change everything. . . .

Years before Lucas ever set foot in Blackhawk, Meg Painter met Dylan Reid. It was the summer before high school and the two quickly became inseparable. Although Meg’s older neighbor, Jess, was the safe choice, she couldn’t let go of Dylan no matter how hard she tried.

Caught in a web of jealousy and deceit that spiraled out of control, Meg’s choices in the past ultimately collide with Lucas’s discovery in the present, weaving together a taut story of unspoken secrets and the raw, complex passions of innocence lost.
  • Howard Books | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439197363 | 
  • May 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Sleeping in Eden includes an introduction, discussion questions, and a Q&A with author Nicole Baart. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Dr. Lucas Hudson is filling in for the town’s vacationing coroner on a seemingly open-and-shut suicide case in Blackhawk, Iowa, when he unearths the skeletal remains of a young woman in a barn. Lucas is certain that they belong to a local girl, Angela Sparks, whom he and his wife, Jenna, had presumed had run away from her neglectful father years ago. Jenna has never recovered from Angela’s disappearance, and Lucas becomes driven to solve the mystery of the victim’s identity, both to bring Jenna some closure and to save his faltering marriage.

Years before Lucas ever set foot in Blackhawk, Meg Painter meets Dylan Reid in nearby Sutton, and the two quickly become inseparable. Their relationship turns turbulent when Jess Langbroek, Meg’s older neighbor, takes an interest in her. Jess is the safe choice for Meg, stable and loving, but Meg can’t let go of Dylan and the history they share no matter how hard she tries. Caught in a web of jealousy and deceit she can’t control, Meg’s choices in the pas see more

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Little Broken Things
The Beautiful Daughters
Far from Here
The Snow Angel

About the Author

Nicole Baart
Photograph by Ellenvelde Photography

Nicole Baart

Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of eight previous novels, including Little Broken Things and The Beautiful Daughters. Learn more at