Charge of an Angel, by Linda Diane Wattley is a story that needs to be told. Leona Tillard is a young, African-American girl, growing up in a dysfunctional family in Akron, Ohio. Living in a house torn apart by domestic violence, Leona first loses her mother and elder brother when neither returned from hospital treatments. Leona’s Dad assures Leona that she is loved and wanted, but she feels lost, alone, and unsure of her place in the world. As she approached puberty, Leona’s life is thrown into turmoil again, when her father marries Priscilla and three more children are added to their blended family. Leona’s biggest wish in life is to see her mother and brother again and to try to understand what love is. She feels she is special, but she is unsure of what God wants for her in this life.
Domestic violence, incest, paedophilia, and child abuse are all topics we don’t want to think about, let alone talk about, so any author who addresses these issues is taking a risk. Nevertheless, these are topics that must be aired and discussed. Linda Diane Wattley handles this difficult topic with love, care and a deep understanding of the victim’s feelings. Her characterisation of Leona allows us, as readers, inside the mind and the strangely twisted beliefs of a victim. We understand the pain, anguish and simple lack of understanding that Leona feels. Writing the story in first-person certainly allows the reader to connect deeply with Leona. This is a beautifully and simply told story of family love and where that can sometimes go horribly wrong. Charge of an Angel is the first in a trilogy and I’m sure most readers will be aching to read the next two books and see where it takes Leona.