Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a story of extreme sadness but also of extreme joy. It even has a magical Cinderella quality in some parts of the book. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I would like this novel when I realized it was based on a girl who grew up in a brothel because I wasn't sure how much they would say about it. But when I started to read it I found it to be a powerful story of redemption filled with needed reminders to Christians on how we should react to ugly situations in life.
Dinah has hated her life for as long as she could remember. Growing up in a brothel has brought her nothing but grief so when an opportunity arises for her to leave she grabs it. Leaving her ugly past behind, she travels from Chicago for a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. Her goal is to become a Harvey girl when she turns eighteen because she wants the prestige and respect that comes with it. Even though she has moved far from home and past, she is still beset with fear. It governs her life so much that she can't see or accept any good in her life.
Amos Ackerman walks with a limp from a wagon accident when he was a child. Because his leg didn't heal right, he is limited in what he can do. He started a chicken farm so he can support himself and has been doing quite well with it. During one of his trips to town, he meets Dinah. Immediately drawn to her, he thinks he may have met his future wife. When he sees her at church, he is almost positive she is the one. But their journey together isn't as easy as he thought it would be. Why is Dinah so timid and fearful?
Even though this isn't what I would typically read, I found it to be one of the best books the author has written. I really liked Amos. He has a lot of perseverance, and I loved how realistic the author wrote him with his physical and spiritual struggles. One of my favorite parts of the story was when Dinah got saved. Finally free of fear and shame, she blossoms into a confident lady. What a wonderful story of hope and the redeeming power of God.
I was given this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.
This is the story of Dinah, a young lady raised in a brothel, who is broken and scarred. She meets Amos, a chicken farmer who is crippled from an accident as a child. She asks him, "What broke you?" She doesn't realize that she is broken. I thought about this statement and realized that in some ways we are all broken like Dinah and Amos. We are all in need of God's mercy and Forgiveness. Mrs. Sawyer brought this out so wonderfully in her story. I was so touched by the tender story of Dinah and her desire for forgiveness and love, of Amos and his desire for God to send him a helpmeet. This book is such a tender love story. But it is also a book of encouragement and faith. I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah for an honest review. I am so glad that I did because it really touched my heart.
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.
This by far is my favorite book by Kim Sawyer. The subject matter is a bit hard to read, in the beginning. BUT stick with it. It has such a wonderful message of Love, Strength, and a deep longing to become something more.
Dinah grew up in a whore house. Her mom hid her away, She was not even allowed to call her mom, MOM. She would lose business that way. Dinah had a deep respect for the cook, and he loved her too. What she needed more than anything was a desire to be loved. Then when her mom took sick, something terrible happened. She was able to leave and start a new life as a Harvey girl.
There she goes on a path of self discovery, friendship, and possibility of love. What would people do when they found out where she grew up? Would they shun her and fire her. Or would they love her. This is a charming story with a very strong message, I feel will touch the hearts of so many who have been hurt in the way Dinah has. If her heart can be mended so can Yours.
This is Kim's best book yet! I could not put it down. Kim deals with a hard situation and handles it in a way that is not indelicate. If you have never read a Kim Vogel Sawyer book, you won't be disappointed in Through the Deep Waters. I stayed up late to finish it!