Tag Archive | human trafficking

Spatzle Speaks: Understory (Book Review)

51vvzd4ocslLisa Lickel has  written a multi-faceted story of love, history, intrigue, sex-trafficking, dysfunctional families, and racism. UnderStory takes place in about a week but is packed full of adventure and is almost impossible to adequately describe. It’s a book one needs to experience instead.

Lily suspects something is not right with the job her brother’s push for her to take a job. Fearing for her life and for the safety of her nephew, she escapes but soon ends up wandering through the north woods of Wisconsin in a blizzard.

Cam lives in his cabin with his dogs. He’s faced unjust accusations in the past and is now enjoying peace and quiet while writing a history of his parents. When he finds Lily buried in the snow in the understory of the forest, he does everything in his power to revive her.

That’s where the story starts but it is hard to know what else to describe because I don’t want to give away spoilers. I personally love any book that has dogs in it and Lickel has included two in this story. Unlikely love overcomes insurmountable odds as criminals abound as our hero and heroine discover the truth about all that is happening as well as the ugly secrets of their own pasts. Sometimes it takes an outsider to help see things in a different and better light and in spite of challenges love can grow.

This is different from anything else Lisa Lickel has written, and probably her best book to date. It is a story that will hang with you long after the final page. I give the book five bones, because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

5 bones for blog

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Freed to Forgive (Book Review)

freed to forgiveJulie 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.

Legitimate Lies (Book Review)

legit lies ebookLegitimate Lies is the sequel to Hush in the Storm by suspense author and abolitionist activist Julie B. Cosgrove. She has a unique story to tell that pulls you into the web of deceit and treachery of the human slave trade that takes place around the world. While Hush is centered in the United States, this book takes the reader to Great Britain because this is an international problem.

Suspense is paramount as Jen’s cover in Witness Protection is blown by the Tom, the man she loves. She is whisked away to Great Britain to undertake a new identity. When her smooth talking criminal husband hunts her and kidnapps her, she fights to hold on to truth in the web of lies keeping her prisoner. Can she escape? And where is Tom? Will he find her? Is there any hope they could be free from the lies, free from her marriage to a criminal mastermind and free from the sins of her past? Only God can lead the way to that as well as providing perhaps healing and hope for others caught in her husband’s web of slavery.

This book is hard to put down. Fast paced and filled with action and drama as well as heart-rending romance, it is sure to satisfy any reader while drawing attention to the very real evils that are currently at play in our world.

Deliver Me From Evil (Book Review)

Sex trafficking in the United States is an unlikely backdrop for a story. In Deliver Me From Evil,  Kathi Macias takes the reader into the world of slave trading and gives a glimpse at the terror and pain of the victims of this crime. That would seem like a pretty dark topic to read about, but Kathi handles this with a master stroke in that she weaves together the tale with a look at various aspects of the industry from international sex slavery, to intra-national. She then adds in faith as one young man, Jonathan, is not only confronted with this evil, but his then compelled to wrestle with his role in it.

When one is confronted with unspeakable evil that one doesn’t fully recognize even exists, how does one react? Jonathan’s path is one of inner struggle and guilt over not knowing, but with the support of his family and new-found faith, results in courage unheard of in one so young.

The angle of the church is touched in here as well, the need for the faith community to take up the cause of abolition, not fear it but to enter into this battle wisely and well- informed. The reality of how few people want to engage in this ugly war is highlighted as well instead of treated as a “the church will save the world” fantasy. Oh, that it would be otherwise but Kathi Macias treats that as well with a just hand, neither excusing the church’s lack of involvement or making it something other than what it is.

I’m grateful that Kathi has helped us see beneath the staggering and mind-numbing statistics of human trafficking and does not even mention specific numbers but instead draws us into the thoughts,  fears and hopelessness of those involved.

This book should be a wake-up call for all Christians. There is real evil in this world and it is a dangerous battle that is fought first and foremost on our knees and then through wise and considered action. This book does an excellent job highlighting this without bringing the reader to a point of depression. Instead, there is hope, and one life at a time we can make a difference.

W.A.R.

The last few days I have been losing sleep and fretting over some events that I am part of that help a group called Women at Risk, International. (W.A.R.).  I’ll be sharing tonight about the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery.

I was going to go back to read my blog from August – to refresh myself on what I wrote about this issue, but I’m at my church and the firewall will not let me access the ugly truths I wrote there! Made me laugh as the reality is, what I wrote is not offensive.  However, the very evil I wrote about is.

As you look at purchasing gifts for Christmas – will you consider possibly purchasing a gift that will have an impact on this global and local tragedy? I did. I really couldn’t afford it – but there are women who will never come to understand the reality of a Savior come to earth, Immanuel, God with us, because they are in chains.

Jesus, quoting Isaiah 61, said of himself:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, (Luk 4:18)

You can find out more information at W.A.R International and see their online store. If you are in the Fond du Lac area – stop by Community Church on Saturday morning from 9-noon and check out the beautiful items. Your purchase helps give dignity back to those who have had it so horribly taken from them. You can make a difference in this war!

This is not just an international issue. It happens in Atlanta, Georgia. It happens in Los Angeles and it even happens here in Wisconsin.  It breaks the heart of God and it should break ours.

Pray. Spread the word. Let’s fight this evil together. The lives of women and children depend on it.