Tag Archives: Parson’s Gap

“Redemption” teaches we are capable of rising above hardship

redemption coverIn Redemption: A Parson’s Gap Story, author Samantha Charles pens a gripping tale about Lindy Harrington as she comes to terms with her past, present, and future. After escaping her abusive husband, Lindy returns to Parson’s Gap, the town of her birth, where she is reacquainted with the people from her youth, in particular, ex-boyfriend Kit, friend Grady, and her father, a less than ethical preacher who uses coercion and might to do what he thinks is the Lord’s work. While there, Lindy uncovers clues that indicate the accident best-friend Sara was killed in was no accident, and the murderer is still alive and well and living in Parson’s Gap. Sara’s murder is not the only secret the small town harbours, and it’s not in Lindy’s character to shy away from the truth.

Abused, first by her father and then by her husband, Lindy emerges as a strong, female narrative voice, who refuses to give up her quest until the ghosts of her youth have been exorcised. Though Lindy’s story meanders between high and low, the conflict is compelling. Charles creates an air of mystery throughout, driving the reader to continue reading to discover the truth, alongside Lindy. Besides Lindy, the most interesting character is Lindy’s father, Reverend Carver, whose puritanical façade is pitted against Lindy’s realism. Though Carver preaches redemption, it is Lindy who sets out to achieve it, and she does, emerging victorious in the battle against her father’s warped sense of values, social prejudice, and the fallout from family secrets brought to light.

At times a page turner, at times a sleeper, my main criticism for Redemption is that it sometimes tries to do too much. Among the themes embedded in the novel include incest, homophobia, racism, black market adoption, abortion, religion, infidelity, and abuse. While reading I was unsure if this was a story about a woman’s struggle for self-determination, or a murder mystery, or something else entirely. Many of my reviews include a text-to-text comparison, but I can find none here, which is a good thing, I think, as it serves as testament to Charles’s originality. Samantha Charles’s Redemption: A Parson’s Gap Story, though the characters (save Lindy) are somewhat stereotypical, tells a powerful story against the backdrop of a setting made vibrant to impart the message that all of us are capable of rising above hardship in order to create ourselves anew.

Mamabear gives this book


Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Read a guest post by Samantha Charles, “Shattering the Silence“.

Shattering the Silence

Britbear’s Book Reviews is pleased to welcome fellow Black Rose Writer Samantha Charles, author of Redemption: A Parson’s Gap Story, for a guest post entitled “Shattering the Silence”.

redemption cover

From the Amazon book description for Redemption: A Parson’s Gap Story:

Lindy Carver Harrington loses her unborn child during a violent altercation with her husband. On the same day, her closest friend Sara careens off a mountainside to her death. Lindy is devastated. Imprisoned by grief, and paralyzed by fear, she is easy prey to her husband’s abuse. She is unable to summon the strength to fight back, until now… A brutal confrontation forces Lindy to choose to either end her husband’s life, or save her own. Escaping, she returns home to Parson’s Gap to rebuild her shattered life. Still haunted by the cryptic message Sara left moments before she died, Lindy becomes determined to answer the voice from the grave and unravel the mystery surrounding Sara’s death. On a perilous journey into the final days of her friend’s life, Lindy’s quest for truth will expose shocking secrets that will shake a small southern town to its roots. Confronting the demons of her past, she strips away layers of lies buried beneath the magnificent mountains she calls home. When the past and present collide, the truth may set Lindy free, if she can only live long enough to take her last shot at redemption.

Buy Redemption: A Parson’s Gap Story on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes,  and Black Rose Writing.

Shattering the Silence by Samantha Charles


Domestic violence has taken a leading role in the national news of late. The media spotlight has focused on celebrities who abuse girlfriends too, most recently, a renowned football player who publicly attacked his fiancé. There have been so many reports of domestic violence in the National Football League that the industry has taken a proactive role supporting organizations like NoMore.org, having their players speak out against violence against women. I applaud the NFL’s conscientious reaction to what seems to be a growing problem in professional sports and in fact, it seems the silence has been shattered. Women who may have suffered in silence in the past are beginning to speak out against their abusers, but those who experience this world steeped in violence first-hand sometimes never recover. The physical wounds may heal, but the emotional and psychological scars many times never fade.

An alarming number of women have personally suffered from abuse while others grow up watching someone they love undergo horrific abuse. Most remain silent in fear of retribution or are ashamed of the cruelty they’ve tolerated, feeling as if somehow they are responsible for the violence perpetrated on them. Domestic violence can become a pattern that repeats from generation to generation, as if allowing oneself to suffer physical abuse, or in many cases, repeating the behavior of the abuser, is a tradition passed along from mother to daughter, father to son. In some cultures, abuse is a normal way of life. Women live in constant fear and sometimes the threat of death while atrocities go unheeded by a populace who looks the other way.

My goal as a writer is to entertain, enlighten, and always leave readers with a memorable journey that will enrich their lives in some manner. I am committed to sharing the rich, sometimes dark, diverse heritage of what it is to be a woman. Domestic violence, particularly spousal abuse, is a topic I am passionate about, and is one of the central themes in Redemption: A Parson’s Gap Story, the first in a series set in a coal mining community nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. The protagonist, Lindy Carver Harrington, loses her closest friend to a fatal accident on the heels of losing her unborn child after she has been violated and viciously attacked by her husband. Devastated, she succumbs to her husband’s brutality, and remains trapped in a violent marriage. A year later, her marriage has turned lethal. Finally finding the courage to escape before she ends up dead, Lindy goes home after ten years of self-imposed exile determined to rebuild her shattered life.

Like Lindy, I grew up as a minister’s daughter in a slow-paced small town in Virginia. Socio-economic influences, religious beliefs, and, in some cases, isolation from the rest of society play a key role in the values and principles of these small towns. In some cases, these elements of this culture continue to enable a local legacy of violence that is now being exposed as a national epidemic.

I think we all probably have certain experiences and relationships in life that influence who we are, and what kind of person we become. These influences indelibly carve into our psychological make-up, and I draw on those elements of my life to build the worlds I create. My intention is to take readers places they’ve never been and to celebrate strong female characters who are determined to overcome a legacy of violence in a world where sometimes merely survival is the ultimate goal.

National Domestic Violence Hotline http://www.thehotline.org/ 1-800-799-7233

Here’s where you can learn more about Samantha Charles and her writing:
charles redemptionAbout the author:

Samantha Charles is a native of the Southeastern United States. As a writer, she enjoys sharing the rich, diverse, and sometimes dark, traditional heritage of the Appalachian Mountains. Samantha’s debut novel, Redemption, is the first of a series set in Parson’s Gap; a small coal-mining community inspired by the people and places she grew to love as a child. Her work explores the social and cultural issues, both good and bad, that permeate the southern region she calls home. When she is not busy creating new worlds, she teaches English at a local college. Currently, she is hard at work on Salvation, the sequel to Redemption.