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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review: Through The Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer

In Through The Deep Waters, Dinah desperate to have enough money to care for her dying mother and move herself out of the brothel where she was born and into a better life is coerced into making a horrible choice.  At the last moment she changes her mind and tries to escape, but she is forced into sticking with her original agreement.  Determined to put it all behind her, Dinah moves on to become a chambermaid in the Clifton Hotel in Florence Kansas.  There Dinah is enveloped into a life she has never known.  She has a nice place to live, an income, and people who care about her and want to befriend her.  But Dinah remains weighed down by the shame of her past and her fears.  She is convinced that she is unlovable and no one will ever want a sullied woman like herself.

Amos Ackerman suffered an injury as a child that leaves him with a physical disability, but he is a man determined to make a good future and life for himself.  His chicken farm makes him very happy and earns him a living, but he has wishes to expand the business and start selling eggs to the Clifton Hotel, where he meets Dinah.  Amos is drawn to Dinah over and over again and although he is confused by her strange, withdrawn behavior, he is determined to show her Christ's love.  But, when Amos discovers the truth will he be willing to share a life with Dinah?

Kim Vogel Sawyer has become one of my favorite writers of historical fiction and when I saw that she had a new book out for review, I jumped at the chance to review it.  I have a confession to make though.  I did not like the first three chapters.  The reason I didn't like them though, was because it makes me sad that although the story is fiction that these things really do go on. I will say along with that though that I admire the author for tackling such a topic and doing it with grace and style and also in hopes that the story will be healing to others that carry shame from past mistakes.

I really liked the story much better once I past the first three chapters.  Once again, Ms. Sawyer has created a wonderful historical fiction that teaches the reader many things.  One of the things that I took away from this book was that we (people in general) have a tendency to make assumptions without actually knowing the facts.  Ruthie assumes that Dinah is wealthy because she doesn't know how to cook and says that where she lived had a cook, when in fact Dinah's upbringing couldn't have been further from the truth.  Dinah assumes that nobody will ever be able to love her, including God because of her past.  Amos makes many assumptions about Dinah when he finds out what he thinks is the truth about her past.  There is also a lot to learn in this book about forgiveness and the ability for God to forgive all things no matter how horrible they may seem, and that we should extend the same forgiveness to others that we ourselves get from God. God also ca heal all wounds if one will let him.  There also is something to learn about keeping secrets.  Not that you should bare your soul to every stranger that you meet, but that by harboring secrets make them worse and allowing people to believe things that are not true is the same as lying.  By telling the truth it releases you from a terrible weight in your life.  There is much to learn in this story about trusting God and the path He holds for your life.  Also, Dinah believed her "shame" was all her fault, when in truth yes she should not have made an agreement in the first place, but the man was more responsible forcing her into something that she did not want to do (and honestly Miss Flo bore some of the responsibility herself too.)  As Ruthie said to Dinah, "You shouldn't feel shame over what someone else did.  The shame isn't yours to carry.  Give it to Jesus and walk in freedom."

I loved the main characters and the story that Kim Vogel Sawyer created around the Harvey Girls and the Clifton Hotel in Florence Kansas.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations. 
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