Wings of Glass
By Gina Holmes
Tyndale House, 2013
Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes is many things:
. . . a heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption
. . . a sensitively-told story about the difficult subject of domestic abuse
. . . a deep and well-characterized story told in an easygoing, flowing style
. . . a young woman's journey in small steps from addiction and denial to trust and freedom.
It is eye opening as we experience the story from the abused wife's viewpoint. Wings of Glass is a 5-star read for me, an important story that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
On the cusp of adulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny’s happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.
When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.
I was drawn into Wings of Glass from Penny's words in the very first sentence: "He always said if I left he would kill me, but there are far worse fates than death." Gina's engaging prose is populated with memorable, well-drawn characters.
-- Trent Taylor, a farmhand hired by Penny's father during a bumper crop summer. "It was just like that story from the Trojan War. We all let him right in without looking first to see what was inside him."
-- Penny Taylor, Trent's wife, who deluded herself into believing the abuse she suffered was somehow justified.
-- Callie Mae and Fatimah, friends who care about Penny and don't hesitate to tell her the truth. "The shame is your husband's. Not yours."
The imagery of the book's title is drawn from a meaningful sculpture that Callie Mae gives Penny, depicting "a woman with butterfly wings fashioned from pink, purple, and blue stained glass. She reached her graceful fingertips heavenward with such a look of longing, I couldn't help but feel it too. Her wings were spread and ready for flight, but a vine wound tightly around her ankles, binding her to the stone base."
Wings of Glass deals with an uncomfortable subject in an uplifting and redemptive way. The book is well researched and Gina certainly writes from the heart. The effects of abuse are so far reaching that I feel anyone would benefit from reading this novel. Highly recommended.
In the author's note at the end, Gina provides some very helpful resources, as well as thought-provoking discussion questions.
Connect with Gina online at ginaholmes.com and Facebook.
This book was provided by BookFun.org in exchange for my honest review.
Gina shares her heart in these words from her website . . .
"I suppose if I had never been the victim of domestic abuse, the word “memoir” associated with my novel wouldn’t make my stomach cramp, but I have and so it does. My past is something that defined me for much of my young adult life. As I matured and God healed me, I chose to leave that past behind me and focus on the future and good things. That is until I felt the need to slash open my veins onto the pages of Wings of Glass.
"I’m not Penny, the main character. I’m all of the characters in the book to some degree. I am both the abuser and the abused. The sinner and the saint. All of my ugliness, and triumphs are right there on the pages for friends, foes, and strangers to read. And although all of those terrible things didn’t happen to me the way they unfolded for Penny, many of them did in one form or another over the course of my life. That makes me feel terribly exposed, but it also makes me feel incredibly liberated.
"Darkness hates light and by sharing our experiences even under the guise of fiction, we are able to minister to those who are travelling the path we’ve already come down. By exposing our own sins and secrets, we are able to understand and sympathize in a way those who haven’t gone through what we have can. More than that, we are allowing others to share their struggles and find healing and support.
"I believe, really good fiction happens when we get emotionally naked—make ourselves known on a level our parents, spouses, children, best-friends…even ourselves… have not experienced. Sometimes when we delve into our souls, the blackness we find there can be disturbing. Sometimes our shovel clinks against the lid of an unopened treasure chest— but as novelists, it is our job to break that ground, come what may. It is only then that we can heal and help others heal, and say to the world, you are not alone. I’ve been there and I understand."