The Spirit Within by Sheila Parker

The Spirit Within is an intoxicating story of a battered love with a unique supernatural twist.

College student, Cassandra Blakemore may seem to have the perfect life on the outside with her loving family and friends, but on the inside she harbors a terror created by her abusive boyfriend, Raleigh Nichols, who quickly sinks his way deep into the bottom of the bottle. Cassandra’s emotional strength suddenly emerges but at a price as she’s faced with her worst fear.

Battered and betrayed, she soon discovers hidden abilities while her own secrets unfold. As if levitation, telekinesis and premonitions weren’t enough, what else is Cassandra Blakemore hiding?


*Reviewed by Andrea Staunton.*

“When I volunteered to do this month’s book review, the editor told me, “ok, you can review your favorite book.” After some consideration, I chose the one that I had just proofread for Spero Publishing. It replaces a number of older novels as one that I will read over and over at bedtime.

The Spirit Within is Ms. Parker’s first book. This fact is not evident in her writing, which is more sophisticated than one would expect from a first time author. This enhances the experience, and makes the book file hard to close at bedtime. It is written in the first person, a convention that I sometimes dislike, but I was able to easily overlook this due to the quality of the writing. The structure and wording is engaging; it is neither preachy nor overly talkative, and is ideal for teen and adult readers who read for the sheer joy of reading.

The familiar enough story is that of Cassandra Blakemore, a young adult who experiences college, an abusive alcoholic boyfriend, and self-destructiveness in the form of dropping out of college and getting a menial job, followed by returning to the abuser. When the worthless boyfriend, (Raleigh Nichols) finds her, she returns to him with such readiness that one wonders if the book isn’t at least a little autobiographical. If it is not, then the author has cared deeply for a young woman who did endure the well-known cycle of abuse and apology.

For a familiar story, The Spirit Within has a few entertaining plot twists. Pay careful attention to Cassandra’s uncle and to the new friends that she makes after fleeing college and Raleigh. There is more than meets the eye there; the developments are well executed and they make the ever-necessary suspension of disbelief enjoyable and easy.

The novel is, of course, replete with romance, girl talk, and hashing out of emotions. This in no way detracts from its quality or value; in fact, I wondered several times if the conversations were ones that the author had had in real life and then committed to electronic memory. Of course, there is a romance and some talk of feelings; the author is a woman and was not trying to create the latest action yarn for teen age boys and middle aged male accountants. Men who read it might understand their wives a little better.

The Spirit Within will be a positive addition to the collection of any avid reader. I value my copy highly, and I give the work 4.4 of 5 stars.”


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