Julie B. Cosgrove has written two fabulous romantic suspense novels with a plot involving human sex-trafficking. Freed to Forgive is the culmination of those two previous stories. The first was Hush in the Storm followed by Legitimate Lies. Marisol’s story is woven in small nuggets into the two previous books but due to the demands of her readers, Marisol’s journey is finally in print.
Marisol is a young woman being abused by her father and brothers in a small village in Mexico. Anger burns within her so when the opportunity to go to America is presented she believes the lies she’s told and leaves. The journey there is harrowing and she finds herself using the skills she learned in her village to try to save another young slave who is still a virgin. Eventually, however, she finds herself pregnant. She gives up her child hoping it can live a better life. In the process she escapes her captors and strives to live a life free of her shameful past.
Ten years pass and she learns over and over that men are not to be trusted. When Jesse shows interest she struggles to accept that he could truly want to know her and not just use her for her body. She struggles to keep her past hidden but her bitterness and resentment over all that has happened bubbles up to torment her and keep her stuck. Can God really help her forgive those who abused and trafficked her? And can she really move forward in freedom and the love of a godly man?
This story is an emotionally fraught one filled with some disturbing scenes. Julie does nothing to hide the horrors of all that Marisol and so many others in our own country endure at the hands of modern-day slave-traders. In spite of that she is not gratuitous or unnecessarily explicit in those descriptions but it is good for the reader to be aware. All the instances are necessary for the plot of the book.
The reality of human trafficking in America deserves fiction like this to help us understand the horrors. We all need to step up to stop this tragedy as well as help those either caught in it or recovering from it. Either through prayer, or awareness or engaging further in the fight. I’m glad Julie Cosgrove has had the guts to tell Marisol’s gritty tale. The reality is we are all at times trapped and wounded by the sins of others and the lessons Marisol learns are for us all. God forgives and there is freedom in Christ.