First published in 2004 as Beneath Wings of an Angel, Janice Romney’s story brings readers face to face with domestic abuse of all kinds—emotional, psychological, sexual, and physical—perpetrated upon a woman and her children by a sociopathic-like husband. Raised in a devoutly Mormon environment, she credits “angels and guides” for her survival and healing.
Although the copyright page calls this a work of fiction, it’s written with a genuineness and transparency that seems to indicate first-hand experience: “I thought constantly about dying. It seemed to be the only answer for me. I was too angry to live and too wounded to leave.”
Romney’s descriptions and conversations of the abuse she and her children suffered are painfully believable. For example, she writes of a time she fought back, beating her husband with an empty clothes hamper: “Years of imprisoned rage wanted to see him dead as I screamed, ‘It is your turn to live in hell. If you ever touch me again, I will have you thrown in jail!’ I don’t know that I was physically hurting him, but I was wild with fury, screaming uncontrollably that I would kill him.”
Despite the author’s authentic rendering of her emotions, writing issues hamper the prose, including typos, misuse of commas and semicolons, missing words and awkward sentences (“We will experience what is necessary for us to grow, but I know some of us are here to give light by becoming light, which light is God’s purest form of love”). Additionally, her overuse of forced melodramatic phrases throughout are distracting: “I felt the sun rise each morning and warmly kiss my face.”
This work could be improved by a professional editor. Nonetheless, readers will be transfixed by the unfolding story of abuse at its worst—and heartened as the author concludes by calling her family’s journey a “beautiful heartbreak,” one that makes “something out of our sorrows, out of our losses, out of our pain.”
Also available in hardcover and ebook.