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A Parting Glass – A Novel

By Author Tess Banion & Illustrator Paul Flinders

A PartingGlass cover

“It was beginning again.

Elizabeth looked around the room from face to face. She saw rage, fear, tears. She saw the monster; his face covered with hair and his nostrils flaring. His feet were heavy and thick, but he looked weak. She needed to run, get to her safe place. She moved back toward the closet and quickly disappeared."

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What a refreshingly different read! The subject  matter is very heavy as the author tackles domestic abuse  head on, however it is written in  such a gentle, childlike way that it  could have been written by Enid  Blyton. It's the story of a young girl,  Elizabeth, the fourth of five chil dren whose father is a drunken  bully. It is not a sad story though.  Elizabeth's spirit and energy are  addictive and I could not wait to  find out the ending. Poignant and  dream like, what a way to tackle  such a tough topic! 

~Michelle S., NetGalley Reviewer


A Parting Glass: A Novel by Tess Banion is a bittersweet recounting of a young girl’s emotional, physical, and mental abuse by her father within their dysfunctional family. Elizabeth is just an imaginative, bright, eleven-year-old girl growing up in a railway town in rural Kansas with her four other siblings at the end of WWII. Life at home revolves totally around the moods of her diabetic father, Junior. At times, Junior can seem like a sweet, loving, husband and father but once that red mist descends the entire family knows exactly what to do and how to handle the situation, as best children can. For Elizabeth, who faces torment at home as well as at her strict Catholic school, where one of the nuns clearly has it in for her, she has adopted a world of fantasy where she can run away and hide to escape the evil monsters that seem out to get her. As she and her siblings grow older, it seems her brothers are reaching the point where they may start to fight back and especially protect their poor mother against her extreme abuse by Junior. Is this family heading for a final reckoning that will see them escape from the never-ending torment of abuse? Can Elizabeth rely on her “saints” -the sweet nun, Sister Mary Rose, or perhaps the kind policeman to be the family’s savior - or will they all have to rely on each other to find a way out of this mayhem?

A Parting Glass is a theme that many readers will sadly identify with and for that reason alone is a powerful and compelling read. Author Tess Banion has created a cast of characters that ring true and in Elizabeth she has a wonderful young girl who feels apart from the world and the torment being foisted upon her. She has found a way to supersede the worst of the abuse by looking inside herself and creating a world that she is comfortable living in. The author did an amazing job of building heightened tension in the narrative that beautifully matched the explosive changes in Junior’s psyche, where he could turn on a sixpence from being loving and caring into the monster that Elizabeth so feared. I particularly enjoyed the close relationships the siblings had with each other. With adversity comes a drawing together, a feeling of all-for-one and one-for-all, which was the recurring thread of this story. Banion captured perfectly the helplessness of the battered woman and her children – especially in this time period when the male was king and what he said was law. Add to that the not-so-subtle misogyny of the Catholic church and you have a recipe for dysfunction. A weak, frustrated and emotionally damaged male family head is all that is required for an explosive and violent tale. This was both a heart-rending and heart-affirming novel and the author has done extremely well in presenting an easy-to-read and extremely relatable story. This is one book I can highly recommend.

~Grant Leishman, Readers’ Favorite

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Tess Banion Audiobook Launch Event Recording

Meet the Author

Tess Banion

Tess became a storyteller at the age of two.

It took her many more years to test her writing skills for real. She grew up in a nice size Catholic family with three brothers and a sister. Her first novel is based on truths, half-truths, and flat-out lies.

She has raised two children and helped sustain a marriage of 37 years. She’s gone to school (got a couple of Masters), worked in politics, changed careers and found her calling. This is her first novel but not her last. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Listen to Tess speak about her book on Timeline Radio!
Tess is introduced in minute 20 of the recording.

Tess Bannion in her Office

Tess Banion in her Office