Welcome to another book blitz organized by Xpresso Book Tours for a coming of age historical YA story with beautiful friendship and romance – Reverend of Silence by Pamela Sparkman. This blitz includes some details about the book, author, couple of excerpts and teasers, and a giveaway. If you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter via link at the bottom of this post. So, here is the book of the day 😊
Title: Reverend of Silence
Author: Pamela Sparkman
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: Coming of Age, Historical, Young Adult
A coming of age story about faith, love, and overcoming society’s prejudices during the American Antebellum period.
In 1810, Lucy Hallison suffered from a severe illness at the age of three, and later recovered, a deaf-mute. Unable to relate to the world in which she lives, she’s often ignored and sometimes treated with cruelty. Until a boy, Samuel Burke, steps into her life at the tender age of seven, coloring her world and showing her what it means to be seen, to not be invisible, to be understood.
The two become inseparable childhood friends, and as they grow and mature, there is the promise and hope of something more that also grows between them. But the hope of something more is put on hold so she can attend The American Asylum at Hartford for the Deaf and Dumb, the first of its kind, requiring her to leave the only home she’s ever known and the only boy she’s ever loved.
But while she is away, tragedy strikes, and Samuel is now the one unable to relate to the world in which he lives, unable to find his own voice, and withdrawing from everyone and everything he’s ever known.
When Lucy returns home from school, she has one goal in mind—to put color back into his world the way he had once put color into hers.
Because Samuel Burke had been her voice when she had needed him most.
Now, she is determined to be his.
Note: Inspired by real people and true historical accounts.
Find a PLAYLIST HERE
May 27, 1819
I received your letter with a glad heart. I have been missing home since my arrival in Hartford. More to the point, missing you. But your letter lifted my spirits. Thank you for reassuring me that you could never forget me. We must never forget each other. I dream of you often, and so, you are always with me. Perhaps, now that I know you dream of dancing, I’ll meet you on the dance floor. I’ll wear the smile you like. You wear the hat, the one from that night. I quite liked it. We’ll meet in our dreams for now, until we can meet again in person.
I’ll tell you about school now. Mr. Gallaudet is the principal. He has kind eyes and an energetic face. He wears spectacles like your father, and he preaches God’s word to us. We have a chapel here too, where we gather for Mr. Gallaudet’s sermons and for prayer. You would like him very much, I think. The first time I met him, he spoke to me in sign. So many sign words! Most I didn’t know, but I am now learning with much delight. Mr. Clerc is teaching me the manual alphabet by hand. He is deaf, too, and came over from France to teach the Deaf and Dumb at the request of Mr. Gallaudet. Oh, Sam! They are wonderful.
I finally met Miss Huntley, who aided your mother when she came to Hartford. I admit I got rather emotional upon meeting her. I didn’t expect to be, but her face had been so open. I could read every emotion pressing forward like the title page of a book. I could see the love there and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Next to your mother and mine, she is the kindest, gentlest lady I’ve ever met.
Coming here has been a blessing to me. I am surrounded by other pupils who love to talk and be happy. I am grateful to your mother for this gift, for if it were not for her and her correspondence with Miss Huntley, I would not be here. So please, do tell my Noah not to worry for me. I am well. My one regret is that I cannot be with you and be here at the same time.
Until I am home, I’ll meet you at the dance.
“Is that another letter from Lucy?” Mama asked. “Your father came by here looking for you earlier.”
I folded it, then set it on top of the pianoforte with the utmost care. I’d come into the music room to read it. “Yes,” I said, my throat feeling like it was made of splinters.
Mama pushed off the door frame and stepped into the quiet room, the heels of her shoes echoing off the wood floors. Her eyes roamed every nook and cranny, the look of nostalgia playing across her face, memories that weren’t so long ago fresh on her mind as she ran her fingertips over Lucy’s desk.
“Does she say how she’s doing?”
“She mentioned you. She said you gave her a gift. She’s grateful to you.”
She let out a breath. “I’m glad. I was worried that maybe she wouldn’t like it.”
“She’s loving it. And she met Miss Huntley. Lucy cried.” I laughed softly. “You did a good thing, Mama. A very good thing.”
Mama smiled in that special way of hers, but it was lacking the brightness, the softness.
“What’s wrong, Mama? She’s happy there. Why do you still look—”
“Sad?” she finished for me. “Because you do. What’s wrong, Sam? I thought a letter from Lucy would have you smiling ear to ear.”
I got up from my seat at the piano and crossed to the window. A wren was building its nest on one of the tree branches outside. I watched it for a moment while I gathered my thoughts.
“I ache, Mama. Right here.” I rubbed at my chest even though my back was to her. “All the time now. It never goes away.” I kept my eyes trained on the wren because if I looked at my mother, I would break. And I didn’t want to break. I needed to stay whole. For Noah. For Noah’s father. I closed my eyes for a second and swallowed the splinters in my throat. It made my eyes burn.
“Don’t,” I said, hearing her stepping toward me and begging her not to. “Please don’t.”
The clacking of her shoes came to a stop and the room was flooded in silence.
“It’ll get easier,” she whispered. “With time.” I nodded and swallowed a few more splinters. “Do you want me to stay with you?”
“No. I’m going to watch this bird build its nest for a while. I’ll be all right. Just—give me some time. That’s the cure, right? Time?”
“Time heals all wounds,” she said. “So they say.”
“Well, I’ll give you a report, let you know if what they say is true.” I glanced over my shoulder and offered her a barely there smile. “Go. I’ve birdwatching to do.”
“I love you, Sam.”
I turned my focus back to the wren. “I love you too, Mama. I love you too.”
“He ordered me out?”
Papa Burke removed his spectacles, then rubbed a hand down his face. He looked like he had aged ten years in the last ten days. He pulled out a chair at the kitchen table and gestured for me to sit across from him as he put his spectacles back on.
I sat and waited for him to answer my question, the one I hadn’t asked him. Why? Why had Sam ordered me from his room? My hand came to rest over my heart. It ached from his rejection.
Days. I had spent days at his bedside, waiting for him to wake up, hoping that he would, caring not only for him but for his parents every second of those days. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think he would toss me out the moment he did. If he had kicked me in the teeth, I don’t think it would have hurt this badly. It took everything in me not to cry right here at this table.
Papa Burke leaned forward, his eyes searching mine. “I’m sorry,” he signed. “You didn’t deserve that.”
My eyes burned. I knew that. I wanted him to tell me something I didn’t know. I leaned forward as well and asked, “Why was I tossed out?”
He tapped his fingers on the table, a silent beat I couldn’t hear. He looked like a man trying to gather thoughts to put into words. I waited, watching his fingers as they moved up, down, up, down. Until his fingers went still. Then they formed the words, “Sam doesn’t want you to see him like this. He feels weak.”
I frowned, signing my response. “I don’t fault him for being weak. He’s injured!” I stood, feeling agitated. “He’s had a fever! He almost died! I know he’s weak!”
Papa Burke also stood and came to stand before me. “Not that kind of weak.”
I blinked, trying to understand his meaning.
“He doesn’t feel like a man.” Papa Burke eyed me pointedly. “He has no pride. He doesn’t want you to see him like that,” he emphasized, pointing above our heads to the second floor.
I reclaimed my seat and shut my eyes. Stupid, stupid man. Yet, at the same time, my heart broke all over again. For Sam. I knew from watching my father how hard men could be on themselves. I’d just never thought Sam would.
Papa Burke put his hand on my shoulder. I glanced up.
“Go home, Lucy.”
My breath caught. That was the first time I’d been issued that command. Everyone was tossing me out? No one needed me anymore? Noah had left without saying goodbye, and now the Burkes were telling me to leave?
“I don’t want to go home,” I signed with a trembling hand.
Papa Burke’s face was sad. He lifted me up to stand. His hug was sympathetic. He released me and said, “Then go back to school. Sam needs some time.”
My nose tingled. My jaw ached. My eyes stung. My chest felt like it was being cut from the inside. Sam needed time. He just didn’t need me. Message received.
I glanced around the room, taking in all the details and all the memories. I packed them all away, but I didn’t know where to place them. My heart felt too fragile. My mind too burdened.
So I left them right where they were and walked out the door.
Pamela Sparkman grew up in Alabama. She became an avid reader at a young age. The written word has always fascinated her and she wrote her first short story while still in elementary school. Inspiration for her stories always begins with a song. She believes music is the pulse of life and books are the heart of it.
When she isn’t writing, however, she’s spending time with her family and taking one day at a time.
GIVEAWAY (INTERNATIONAL) – $25 Amazon gift card (ends April 16th) > HERE
This sounds like a heart-breakingly sweet coming of age story with heartwarming romance and heart-shattering reality. What are your thoughts on excerpts, teasers, synopsis and the cover? Are you ready to lose your heart and tears to this emotional story and add this book to your TBR? 😉
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