Archangel Ink (2021)
Reviewed by Chelsy Scherba for Reader Views (12/21)
“Transcending Darkness” written by Denise Brown is a compelling memoir of childhood abuse, neglect, and God’s incomparable guidance, love, and grace. This captivating story unfolds like a novel detailing every challenge the author and her younger sisters faced while enduring the hardships of a mentally ill mother and sister, poverty, and unthinkable physical and verbal abuse from both parents. Through it all, Denise nurtured her faith as God carried her out of the lowest lows of suicide, depression, and the prospects of a grim future. Now a successful dentist with a happy life of her own, “Transcending Darkness” provides a message of hope and optimism for anyone who has gone through or is currently trying to find how to keep pushing through the dark to find the light on the other side.
This book is much more than your average memoir. It is also a testament to God’s divine love and acceptance for those who don’t feel worthy of anyone’s love. Denise was such a person, and if it hadn’t been for the fact I already knew that she would come through the trials she suffered, I might have found this book a lot harder to enjoy. I was honestly very surprised I could both read and find inspiration and enjoyment from it. Although I’ve never been through quite the same caliber of abuse as Denise, I was able to relate to some of her emotions, feelings, and circumstances. Knowing there is someone who has gone through something similar with the ability to articulate it so clearly was very thought-provoking and made me think deeply about the way God has also led me through bad times to get to where I am today.
Denise was always very tuned towards the spiritual world, so I found her stories about spirits and the demonic activity she experienced very intriguing. She certainly seems to have had more supernatural experiences than the average person; she has seen apparitions and heard angels guiding her, received signs from God, and been led to safety by a force that’s saved her life multiple times. Despite reaching her limits time and time again, this loving presence protected and preserved her. I found her divine experiences very inspiring and comforting, but also compelling. You can’t really deny the existence of God in Denise’s journey. Her prayers were answered in ways only God can answer.
Denise shares some very raw and upsetting stories that happened to her when she was young, including physical beatings, verbal abuse, and bullying from peers. Her intention in sharing these moments of her life so openly is not to trigger sensitive readers, but to show others who are going through similar things that hope and recovery is possible. Her openness and authenticity shine through in her words. Although the things that happened to her were truly horrifying, she writes it so expertly that it’s like reading a story. I found myself thinking about what she’d gone through and constantly wondering what would happen to her next. Her struggles were relatable to me as a fellow believer, since we don’t always recognize when God is there until much later. I truly enjoyed being able to experience her journey and the transformation she and her sisters made into the strong women they are today.
I recommend this book to all victims of abuse who are seeking to find their own light out of the darkness. Denise overcame so many impossible odds and found the healing and the life of peace and happiness she so deserved. Her family’s darkness was a long-kept secret that shows the human capacity to endure the most impossible situations. Her story is a testimony of hope and survival that has the capacity to encourage and save other desperate hearts from succumbing to despair. There is a God that loves you, even if you don’t always know He’s there. You are not alone, and this book will help guide you to a better place.