Demons of past mistakes haunt her. Mistakes of past demons haunt him.
Strangers cross paths every day. Moments are shared with a smile - the opening of a door, a nod of hello, or help with directions. Most don't listen to that quiet intuition telling them that something different can be found in this stranger. There is connection and understanding in their eyes. There is truth in their smile. There is an entire life waiting to live. What happens if that intuition isn't ignored and strangers begin to listen?
It happens every day, someone, somewhere, chooses to listen, and love begins.
This is the story of two strangers who made that choice.
Haunted by the passing of her sister and believing she was the catalyst to cause it, Hannah Anderson lives a walking death. Afraid to embrace life and burdened by guilt, she refuses to accept more than just getting through every day. She believes she doesn't deserve happiness.
Consumed by anxieties and self-depreciation from childhood, Wynn Hawthorne shelters himself from the world. Content to live behind his camera and within the quotes that comfort him, he avoids people. He holds himself back from experiences because people always disappoint.
Together they learn that their pasts do not define them and that forgiveness is the hardest thing in the world to accept.
This is a new adult novel intended for age 17 and older.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Have you listened to any of Jared Ristau-Hernandez and Sarah Buhl ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Yes, but I don't want to spoil anything for those who have not listened to (or read) the book.
Any additional comments?
I listened to the audio book version of "Penance" by Sarah Buhl and liked it very much.
The two main characters, Wynn and Hannah, are deeply damaged people. Each has their own closet full of skeletons and their past experiences have significantly skewed how they see the world, how they interact with other people in their lives, and how they interact with each other.
I hate to admit it but at first I didn't have a lot of sympathy for these characters, but then as I understood more about their back-stories and discovered how they came to be this way, I not only started feeling sympathy for them but later felt empathy for them as well. I came to understand them as broken people trying to become whole and found myself rooting for them in changing their lives and how they see the world.
At times, Penance is quite an emotional story and I found myself feeling very connected to these characters, feeling sad for them when they failed or experienced setbacks and feeling happy and proud of them when they grew.
Sarah Buhl does an excellent job of telling these characters' stories in a way that doesn't give too much away too soon and lets the reader evolve in their thoughts of Wynn and Hannah as the story progresses.
I especially liked how, from chapter to chapter, she switches back and forth between Wynn and Hannah telling the story. This gives the reader a chance to experience the story, sometimes even the same scene, through each person's perception.
(This works especially well in the audio book since we get to hear Sarah Buhl herself read the Hannah chapters.)
I would very highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a deep thought-provoking tale of people struggling within themselves to overcome their demons and change for the better.