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Behind the Shades: Hope Beyond the Darkness By Shelia Raye Charles Book Review

Behind the Shades is an autobiography of Shelia Raye Charles, one of the daughters of the best-selling musical artist Ray Charles. Throughout the book, she opened up candidly about her estranged relationship with her father. She didn’t meet her father until she was fourteen years old. Her father was always driven by success and maintaining his business career. He was continually busy and he didn’t take the time to connect with his children enough. Shelia Charles resented her father and was very bitter for his lack of caring about his children. She distinguished that her father felt guilty for his brother’s death. Ray Charles’ mother repetitively berated him and stated that she was making him stronger because he was blind. She also tried to get a foot in the recording business and her father would make empty promises to help but wouldn’t follow through.

To say the very least, the book publicized the dramatic truth of Shelia’s dark past. She took readers through the journey of being arrested for the third time. She struggled with being addicted to drugs. She admitted to having low self-esteem and she would put up with a man who cheated on her. They also had a few children together. She shared a heartbreaking story about how he was gone for two days and he came back demanding for some money. At first, she refused to give him any. But she began to have labor pains and she eventually had to give him some where he would take her to the hospital. After, she arrived at the hospital and they check on the baby’s health, the doctors discovered that she had cocaine in her system. She knew she was losing another child to the state again. The baby girl was thankfully born fine. Ultimately in prison, Sheila Charles became closer to God and she let Him slowly begin to heal her father wounds.

I would recommend this remarkable book to anyone who enjoys an exceptional book about how God can take and use our past mistakes and turn it into something good. I appreciated how Sheila Raye Charles was transparent and she didn’t hold back in revealing excruciating details about her struggles and her dilemma with her father. The book did contain a great deal of personal information and some readers may at times be uncomfortable. I immensely loved the intricate depletion of her experiences and treatments of being in prison. I felt it could tremendously encourage people who are struggling with drugs that freedom is possible. If you’re looking for an inspiration book, with a message engrained of triumph, and overcoming a drug addiction, then this book is for you!


“I received this book for free from Cross Focused Reviews / Vox Dei for this review”.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Behind the Shades, then check it out on



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