WINGS OF GLASS starts off with a prologue in which Penny, the main character, makes it clear she is actually writing a letter to her now-toddler-aged son, relaying events that occurred before he was born that have brought them to this day. Mostly, she is giving him information about the man his father really is --- not to make her son hate his dad, but to answer questions she believes her son may ask later, when he’s older.
And so the story begins…
Penny Carson is only 18 when farmhand Trent Taylor steals her affections. Little does Penny know that he’ll be taking much more from her in the years ahead, including her confidence, judgment and self-respect. Pretty much the only things Trent gives her are bruises. The physical bruises always heal, of course, but the emotional and mental wounds have done the most damage and may just take a lifetime to repair.
"WINGS OF GLASS deserves the highest praise. For a storyline that is gripping, with several unexpected turns. For characters who dance off the pages and into your heart. And for bringing awareness to an issue that isn’t typically addressed in Christian fiction."
Somewhere deep inside, Penny knows that the way Trent treats her is wrong. But she has always been taught that divorce is not an option. So she stays. When Trent has an accident that leaves him blind and unable to work, Penny has to work for the first time ever --- if you don’t include the hours spent taking care of her husband. The last thing Trent wants is for his wife to work, since he’s done a good job of alienating her from the world, including her own family, but they don’t have a choice; they need the income. So Penny gets a job cleaning houses. It’s then that she meets two extraordinary women who will change her life forever. Not only do they offer friendship Penny has never had before, they also give her some much-needed guidance by helping her face the truth about her marriage, her life, and God.
It’s hard for many people to understand what would make a woman stay in a situation where she’s constantly berated, mistreated and used in an atmosphere where she is not valued or cared for or loved. Those familiar with the psychological condition of abuse victims know that the main reason they stay is due to insecurity --- having a twisted view of what love really is, and not truly believing they deserve any better. They even blame themselves.
For Christians, there is also the question of what circumstances warrant divorce. Many believe it’s acceptable only in the case of adultery, and tend to disregard the other vows made before God on their wedding day. Vows to cherish, respect and love. While leaving due to physical abuse may be more understandable because of the bodily injuries involved, what about emotional trauma? Mental anguish? Where do those things fit in? Author Gina Holmes does an excellent job of painting the picture, presenting both sides of the coin through character dialogue and letting the reader decide for herself. There are events that steer the plot in a certain direction, particularly in the end, but ultimately, Penny’s story is handled with grace and sensitivity to all involved. Even Trent is given redeemable qualities, causing the reader to sympathize with him, if only for a moment.
Holmes has received critical applause for her first two novels, CROSSING OCEANS and DRY AS RAIN. WINGS OF GLASS deserves the highest praise. For a storyline that is gripping, with several unexpected turns. For characters who dance off the pages and into your heart. And for bringing awareness to an issue that isn’t typically addressed in Christian fiction. At least not in such a way that takes a look at the harsh reality and consequences of abuse, yet ends with a feeling of genuine hope.
If nothing else, this book will give you a closer look at the life of abusers and their victims. And maybe it will even make you reflect on the fact that not everything is as black and white as the church sometimes wants to portray. And that God’s grace really is nothing short of amazing.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on April 12, 2013