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.
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.”
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT) of a $25 Amazon gift card!
About the Author
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.
Book Tour Hosted By
SINCE YOU’RE HERE…
… we have a small favour to ask.
Hurn Publications is a home for bold ideas and big thinkers. We welcome your comments and banter, provided it stays respectful for all.
We’re an Indie Publishing Company aiming to help educate, inspire and coach new and experienced authors.
We’re a different kind of publisher who believes that writers should be able to make a living doing what they love.
Follow our link for Submission and Query Guidelines, and get published by a business that’s changing the industry!