In "Wings of Glass" by Gina Holmes, Penny Carson leaves her family's farm to elope with charming farmhand, Trent Taylor. At first, Penny is completely infatuated with her handsome new husband, but Trent shows his true colors as an abusive alcoholic, hitting her before the honeymoon is over.
Trent completely controls Penny and doesn't allow her to leave the house. A freak accident at work causes Trent to go blind and he reluctantly lets Penny start working cleaning houses because he can't provide for them. She meets Callie Mae, who is at first her boss, but turns into a much-needed friend. Penny also spends time with Fatima, her feisty co-worker.
Both women try to save Penny from her abusive husband, but Penny is determined to make their marriage work, especially since she's expecting a baby. But can Penny be rescued from Trent or free herself from the chains of domestic abuse?
Holmes' book really showed why women stay in abusive relationships. We always think it would just take one violent incident to walk away from an abuser and are amazed that people stay with or continue to return to partners who hurt them.
Holmes chose to write this book in the form of letters from the protagonist to her unborn son. This was an interesting way to structure the book because Penny ends up explaining how she ended up with Trent and why she continually takes the blame for his abuse.
I truly enjoyed the theme of the power of female friendship. Callie Mae and Fatima were each so different, but both women cared about Penny and did not stop supporting her even when she made poor choices. Callie Mae and Fatima both been affected by spousal abuse, Callie Mae by the murder of her daughter by her son-in-law and Fatima at the fists of her own ex-husband.
The book was a bit of a roller coaster emotionally. When Penny and Trent first met, I felt hopeful and happy for her because she was leaving behind her indifferent father, but wary because she is only 17.
But when Trent started abusing her I felt sad. When Penny forgave Trent and didn't feel she could leave him, I felt anger and despair. After Trent's accident I felt avenged and hopeful for Penny again. And the cycle kept repeating.
There was a lot of religion and questioning of religion in the novel. I understood why it was such a big part of the book, but I didn't necessarily enjoy that aspect of it. I did appreciate that the novel pointed out that religious leaders can be misguided and that people should follow their own hearts.
There was a lot of detail concerning a statue of a woman with butterfly wings trying to fly, but anchored to the ground by a vine wrapped around her feet. Callie Mae gives this statue to Penny and tells her about the death of her daughter at the hands of her murderous son-in-law. It is a warning to Penny that Penny chooses to ignore.
At one point there is suspicion that Trent has something to do with the death of a woman he knows from work and he coerces Penny into being his alibi even though she does not know where he was when his co-worker was killed.
It was also very interesting to see how Trent changed when he survives an accident at work, which leaves him helpless and blind. He leans on Penny and starts being kinder to her, probably because he finally understands what it is like to be a the mercy of someone else.
Overall, though the story was interesting, I found it to be a very depressing read.
Definitely not a book you'd want to bring poolside. I probably won't be reading more of this author's books, not because it wasn't good, but more because I read for enjoyment and this book was much too heavy for me. I felt burdened rather than relaxed as I turned the pages.