Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes is a story about Penny Taylor, who is married to an abusive man named Trent. When I read the synopsis for this novel, I had hoped that this was a story of a woman in an abusive marriage who would transform into a strong person who wakes up to what is happening to her and finds the courage to walk away. Sadly, that does not happen, and the unfortunate reality is that this is true of many abusive relationships where the abused wife ends up dead. I tried to like this book. It was hard to like it. While I understand that the author’s intent was to portray her character, Penny, as a typical victim of domestic abuse, there were some issues I had with the story.
First of all, Penny is trying to get pregnant. I couldn’t help but wonder why in the world she thinks she should bring a baby into an abusive home. Some women think getting pregnant or having a baby will make everything better, but this is not true. Sadly, Penny seems to think so. She seems to think, “If only we had a baby. Then my husband would stop beating the living crap out of me every day.” Studies have shown that husbands who beat their wives will also beat their children. It’s too bad that Penny was not aware of this information. And that’s another thing; she is so isolated. She doesn’t talk with neighbors or use the Internet to read the news. (Her husband probably would not allow her to use the computer if they had one – and that is another issue I had with this story. Why does Penny allow Trent to dictate what she can and cannot do? She can’t call her parents because he won’t allow it? But on the other hand, I understand the situation there: Trent, like every abuser, is controlling. He reads the phone bill and if he sees that Penny called her parents, he punishes her for it with his fists.)
Another thing that I was confused about was why Penny even thought it was acceptable to be married to a man that hits her. I tried to look for clues in how she acted around her father to tell me that she was abused at home so she thought this kind of relationship was normal, but no, that’s not there. And she doesn’t share any memories of her father ever hitting her or beating her until she’s black and blue. But I guess she was just so blindly in love with Trent that she loved him no matter how hard he hit her, or that she just wanted to stay married so badly and not live with her mom and dad even if it meant she’d end up in an early grave. Trent’s abuse does destroy Penny’s self-esteem and she does end up falling into a deep depression because of it, but I could not understand why she didn’t try to change things if she was so unhappy. And why didn’t she realize that God would NOT want her to stay married to a man that beat her every day? I guess the author wanted us to see Penny as a Christian martyr willing to stay married to someone even if that someone abused her, but I did not see her that way and, in fact, I ended up losing respect for Penny at the end. What did she learn? How did she grow? She just didn’t.
Now the one thing I was impressed with as far as this story goes is how well the author portrayed Trent as an abuser. She brought this type of person to life so well. Like every abuser, Trent lies to Penny, manipulates her, and he plays head games with her to think all is well now and that he’ll change. Or that he’s really, really sorry for hurting her. This is probably why Penny lies and covers for Trent so much, thinking “he didn’t mean it” or “it was an accident.” Or that that is how Trent is. “This is how it is for us.” As a Christian, though, she should remember that it’s wrong to lie, but the lies just keep rolling right out of her mouth. It’s bad to divorce, but it’s okay to lie?
Finally, I was not satisfied with the way this story ended. I was disappointed that Penny did not learn to love herself enough to get away from her abusive husband. It took the love for her baby for her to find the strength to stand up to him, though even after she does, she feels so guilty and tries to help him. That was really pathetic. Why couldn’t she learn to love herself? What’s going to happen later on down the road when she’s with another man and he starts hitting her, too? Why can’t love for herself be enough to walk away from an unhealthy relationship like that? But that doesn’t happen here. And, what’s worse, she is not the one to get away from Trent in the end. She does not break away from him; he breaks away from her. So, you know, she really doesn’t come out of that as a victor, but more like the victim. She was not the strong woman I hoped she would turn out to be.
After her abusive husband suffers a welding accident, Penny Taylor is finally allowed to get a job to support them. This change introduces her to two women who help Penny find her way through the messiness of her marriage and understand that it’s time for things to be different.
From the best-selling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. 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.