Forgiveness – what, who, when, or if?

‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.’ As an atheist, I view forgiveness on a personal scale, and I admire those who through faith can forgive what seem to me to be unforgiveable acts. Certainly, if you can rid yourself of the eroding and destructive feelings of anger or injustice that eat at your well-being and happiness, then that ‘unforgiveable’ act has no power over you, and you are no longer a victim, so in that respect forgiveness is healthy and to be encouraged.

For some, Good Friday is a religious day of great importance when they ponder forgiveness, for others it’s a chance to have a day off work and eat Easter eggs, for me it brings heartbreaking memories and a sadness that has plagued me for over thirty years. Whilst I never blamed one party, for my own blame would have to be too deeply inspected if I did that, how do I forgive the other the premeditated destruction of three families, mine among them.

I won’t go into details, they’re personal and would bore you – this has happened to thousands of families and mine isn’t a special case. It isn’t the hand you’re dealt, but how you play it? Not well, in my case, or not for a long while, but my personal traumas have stood me in good stead, made me stronger and more self-reliant, given me a deeper understanding of myself and the human condition, and have provided inspiration for plots, depth for my characters, and clothing for the bones of my stories.

Common themes run through my tales almost subconsciously, and the feelings I’ve experienced in life: the joy, the pain, the guilt, fear, and anger are manifested in my characters. Loss, guilt, bad choices, cowardice and courage, hope and despair, faith and the lack of it, promises kept and broken are all explored, but strongest of them all, is the narrative of unbreakable love.

Loss, that desire to find my way back to something unattainable, appears to be a central theme, and questions are raised about forgiveness, hatred, guilt, faith, and life choices.

In Where Hope Dares, an epic ‘post-apocalyptic’ adventure set far in our future, Kiya is kidnapped, and Raphel her husband sets out on a 1000-mile journey to bring her home. Such is the strength of their love, and that strength and their ‘pagan’ faith is needed to overcome the disasters that befall them both.

In The Silence of the Stones, a contemporary mystery set in West Wales, Alana, having faith in nothing but her ‘small gods’, leaves Tony, her lover, when she becomes pregnant by another man and the truth would destroy Tony, but it’s him she always desires, and she struggles to love the child that separates them. In taking her own personal journey to ‘find herself’ she is able to accept who she is and let him back into her life.

In Touching the Wire, where forgiveness and faith is tested to breaking point and beyond, Walt loses Miriam, his wife, in the death camp of Auschwitz/Birkenhau in Poland in 1944. Guilt and remorse haunt him, promises are not kept, and self-forgiveness is not possible, yet love prevails.

In ‘For Their Country’s Good’ a trilogy set in 1840s England, Ella is forced by family and social/religioius mores into marrying against her will, while Jem, the man she loves is transported to Van Diemen’s Land for murder. But her love for Jem makes her unstoppable, and she determines to find him, whatever the cost. Bad decisions and guilt haunt her journey and the question of self-forgiveness raises its head once again.

In The Dandelion Clock, Walt and Florrie are torn apart by the Great War and again, faith during wartime is questioned. Promises are made, but war changes people, so the question that arises is should promises made under such difficult circumstances be kept? The Dandelion Clock will be published later in 2018.

Where Hope Dares will be free as a birthday gift to my readers from 1st April to 3rd April inclusive. I hope you pick it up at One reviewer called it ‘The best epic dystopian saga you’re likely to read.’.

Read a frank interview with Frank Parker here

Previews of my books can be read here

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