i was thrilled when i found lisa samson's new book, Embrace Me, the other day, hot off the press! but i must admit, my heart sank a little when the front cover had a definite circus thing going on. i recently read another circus-themed book, Water for Elephants by sara gruen, and reviewed it here. i was not crazy about that book. but knowing what a talented and powerful writer lisa samson is, i took her new book to the check out counter. i was not disappointed.
her characters immediately evoked a whole range of emotions: drew, the pastor and fraud, angered me with his greed for power, deceiving and using his congregation. valentine, the woman whose horribly burned face made me wince at the thought of looking at her scars when she removed her veil. and lella, a woman born with no arms and legs made me feel such pity, but also amazement at her positive and cheerful spirit. the friendship of those two women was very touching. as the story unfolds and the characters process some very hurtful and traumatic events, they travel full circle to a place of resolution and hope, but not without pain. without preaching, this book presents authentic Christianity: an individual's recognition of their own need of forgiveness and the realization that God is their only hope. through our healed relationship with God it is possible to reach out to others, extending forgiveness and reconciliation. our souls long to be embraced by a loving and forgiving God.
Embrace Me was a story of lives torn apart by the consequences of selfish and sinful choices, but also of healing, redemption, and forgiveness. what a contrast to Water for Elephants which puts on display the worst of human nature as a sort of sideshow without any hope or redemption.