A Penny Parcel by Avery E. Hitch: A Review

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Find it on: Goodreads | Paperback

Age Appropriate For: 15 and up (child abuse somewhat detailed and the emotional trauma of that is fairly detailed)

Best for Ages: 15 and up

Description: In the year 1910, Luke Tanner, an upstanding social icon in the quiet but politically powerful town of Galesburg, Vermont, adopts Ashley, an abused orphan girl. Because the cost of processing the paperwork is a single cent, orphans like Ashley are called "penny parcels," seen by society as only worth that much. But Ashley doesn't want a daddy, she would prefer to remain in the security of the orphanage, where her past can remain secret. Luke's wife, Grace, and their son, Wesley, try to love Ashley and help her break through the emotional walls around her bruised and broken heart. But her inability to live up to Luke Tanner's standard of performance, as well as her tainted perception of family dynamics, isolate Ashley from those who care about her the most. With both of them waging war on their own personal battlefields, Luke and Ashley collide. Their conflicts initiate a sovereign tragedy.

I was not prepared for this to be one of those books that tears your heart apart and leaves you feeling deeply satisfied down to the very core of your being. I had loved what I had read about the author on her website years ago (it’s sadly no longer up) and had placed this book on my to-read list.

This story is not for the faint of heart. Yet, if you have ever dealt with children either in foster care or adoption or known someone who has dealt with abuse, I would say this story will be something you won’t want to miss. The author does not go into a lot of gory detail about the actual physical and emotional abuse (which is not sexual abuse) yet it is hard to read about. However, the emotional trauma that is caused by the abuse is vivid so be aware.

While most of the story is told from Ashley’s point of view, we also get to see the story from her adoptive father’s point of view. Both perspectives are well written, deep, and realistic. I felt every drop of the fear and anger, the pain and hurt, the mistrust and desperation they experienced. The emotional tide of this book just swept me along from page one until the end, which is why I am so glad I read it on a Sunday and devoted a day to reading. It. 

The spiritual value of this book is just amazing. You might think from what I’ve said before this that this book is sad and depressing. There were times when I thought it was going to be that way. Yet, the author built in the hope of our faith in a realistic and powerful way. It was a natural part of the story. When the breakthrough came, I almost wanted to stand up and cheer. As I said before, it was deeply satisfying.

This book is hard to do justice to in a review. However, it made me once again remember to show compassion to others. You never know what kind of trauma in their past is causing them to act the way they are. I only wish there were more books like this.

I highly recommend this book to older readers who want a soul-satisfying read, an emotional story that builds-up, or those who are interested in adoption.

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