Kim Vogel Sawyer's latest novel is one that has been on her heart for years. I can see why.
Dinah is a girl fighting a battle every day just to keep living.
She's paralyzed by fear and bound by shame, and both were bequeathed to her by one abuser, one man.
Dinah is extremely sensitive to other people's suffering. That's why she asked a limping stranger a very pointed question: "What broke you?"
In a world where we avoid addressing people's pain- perhaps because we are impotent to fix it?- Dinah stood out.
Little did she know that this stranger would soon see *her* brokenness and be drawn to her. That man was Amos Ackerman.
Amos's time with Dinah is less about him and her than about God changing him, because even tender-hearted Amos will judge a person without knowing them. His story is about how God changes his attitude, showing him how he could easily be part of Dinah's problem instead of Dinah's healing.
Then there's Ruthie, a fellow chambermaid at the Harvey Hotel.
A young lady from a wholesome home who doesn't fear the dark or shy from men's attention.
Ruthie must crack open her heart and realize that not everyone had the beautiful, innocent early years like she did.
She must learn how- reluctantly, falteringly- to give kindness to Dinah, and be glad instead of jealous when Dinah is blessed.
Ruthie's part in the story serves to remind us that we don't know somebody until they reveal themselves.
We can guess and assume and judge but until we communicate honestly we can't meet their needs.
Another truth comes through in this story, if you know where to look. Prostitution is not a choice women make, it's a situation that they're forced into.
In our sin-sick world we don't always gather the vulnerable and broken and destitute under our wings. Sometimes, we push them out onto the street. And once there, whether you're a 24 year old mother of three with nobody to help provide, or a 15 year old runaway with self-absorbed or abusive parents, what do you do to stay alive?
Whether you're forced into sex slavery out of poverty, or because you've been bombarded by the message that you're good for nothing else, or because a boyfriend/pimp has taken control of you, every woman deserves better. The evils of others are not her fault.
She didn't bring them upon herself, and she does have a future ahead of her if we will step up and help her heal.
Fellow reader, if you have a passion for helping women be healed and set free after abuse and mistreatment, then I suggest that you read further. Educate yourself about the psychology of abuse. Study the patterns of shame that bind a woman when she's told that someone else's crime was her fault. Try Naomi Zacharias' book The Scent of Water. Try Mary Pipher's book Reviving Ophelia.
Look up Vicki Tiede and Shannon Ethridge, both of them speak hope into women's lives.
The sex slavery that Dinah was surrounded by still goes on, and will until theres's no one left who thinks they can purchase a woman.
Read The White Umbrella by Mary Francis Bowley. She believes that it can happen: Sex Slavery and Prostitution can be ended.
That's the vision. That's the goal.
It will involve large-scale work like is done at Wellspring Living, and personal restoration like what happened to Dinah.
The results will be just as beautiful as a confident, peaceful, loved young woman.
Thank you Waterbrook for my review copy!
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site atwww.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information."