About this book: In this Freedom Series book #3, Mara has to make some major choices. Can she trust her feelings for Jonathan, despite the fact that she fears men in general? Will she risk returning to Mexico to find her family, the very ones who sold her into slavery when she was just a child? Will she receive God’s forgiveness and then offer that forgiveness to those who have so viciously hurt and betrayed her?
Meanwhile, Lawan is winging her way from Thailand and all that is familiar to live with the family who adopted her younger sister, Anna. Though still a child herself, Lawan has survived nearly three years in a brothel and feels much shame as a result. Will she be able to bond with her new family and allow God to heal the losses and pain she has sustained in recent years?
Jonathan too has much to deal with, primarily his feelings for Mara. Can he, a Bible college student, establish a deep and meaningful relationship with a young woman who has spent the majority of her life as a sex slave?
About the author: (excerpted from her website) Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has also been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. She has recently taken the position of Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Elk Lake Publishing. She lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG. Though it addresses tough issues head-one, there is no graphic imagery.
Reminds me of… Stranger Things by Erin Healy, shades of Francine Rivers
You’ll want to buy this book if … well, let me answer indirectly: The Freedom Series is published by New Hope Publishers, whose credo “Gospel-centered, Missions-driven” brings a unique vision to the publishing world. I asked editor Andrea Mullins why they chose to publish this particular trilogy, and she said: “Human trafficking is a difficult subject, and not one that most of us want to read about in a nonfiction book. Some time ago New Hope decided that we could reach believers with the important messages about hard subjects through fiction. Our goal for the Freedom series is that the compelling story will also encourage readers to see that they can get involved, whether through prayer or active engagement.
“Our prayer is that readers will read the books and perhaps recognize they already know of places where they could get involved. They may suddenly notice the little girl peeking out the front door of a home nearby that they never see outside. Statistics have proven that there is likely someone being kept against their will within two blocks of most homes. We also hope readers will consider a small group study and then discuss how their church can get involved. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing spiritually dark industries in our world, and one to which many governments are turning a blind eye or actually condoning. I hope readers will feel a righteous anger that drives them to act.”
My take: The Deliverer provides a raw and realistic, but not graphic, fictional portrayal of an ugly real-life topic: the human trafficking crisis spreading like a virus across the U.S. and around the world. Told with intimate care from almost every conceivable angle–from that of an imprisoned trafficker to a battered housewife, rescued sex slaves immigrants to all-American college kids–I would be hard-pressed to imagine a more thorough exploration of the evils of human trafficking in novel form.
Perhaps the most poignant element of The Deliverer is Macias’ portrayal of God’s fathomless, unconditional love for each and every one of us, even (especially) the unlovely. [Spoiler:] I’m thinking particularly of young Sarah, whose unrequited crush on Jonathan causes her to behave in some rather unattractive ways. But when–as she suffers the consequences of her behavior–she understands how tender God’s love remains for her–it erases her shame. That’s a message any one of us can embrace.
The Deliverer is not an easy read, but it is an important one. Written with great compassion and even greater hope, I would recommend this book (and the entire Freedom Series) to justice-minded social groups or book clubs who wish to increase their awareness and provide a foundation for action-oriented discussion. Toward this end, at New Hope Digital, readers will find study questions for each book in this series and an “ideas and resources” list to help educate readers and enable them to apply what they’ve learned and become actively involved in fighting the ongoing scourge of human trafficking.
Andrea Mullins says, “Everything we do on New Hope Digital is to engage readers and churches in learning about our authors and their books while also discovering all the tools that go with the books (study guides, Bible study guides, podcasts, video) that will help churches to use our books as part of their discipleship program. Our goal is that every New Hope Publishers’ book is a discipleship resource for individuals and churches.”
Thanks to Veritas Communications for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
End notes. The good news is that–thanks in part to the efforts of New Hope Publishers and writers like Kathi Macias –the fight against human trafficking is gaining strength. As it happens, tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Kent Meridian High School auditorium), my husband and I are attending a local viewing of the movie, Rape for Profit, intended to raise awareness. If you live in the Seattle area and would like to claim a seat, please visit BrownPaperTickets.com to make your reservations. Tickets are free, but a $10 suggested donation at the door will be collected to help fund scholarships for people interested in becoming anti-trafficking trainers.