Through the Deep Waters
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
WaterBrook Press, 2014
A past filled with shame can be washed away with a love that conquers all...
Born to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn’t old enough, her only option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. Eager to put everything behind her, Dinah feels more worthless than ever, based on a single horrible decision she made to survive.
The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a sullied woman like her. Despite his self-consciousness about his handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah Christ’s love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs?
Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a surprisingly different type of read, one that I found very refreshing and fulfilling. The story is touching, romance tender and sweet, characterization rich, and the theme of redemption is strong. As I began reading, I thought this would be a typical historical romance, maybe even a little predictable - but the further I read, the more I discovered there was nothing typical or predictable about this book.
Through the Deep Waters opens in Florence, Kansas, during the year of 1883 and features the Clifton Hotel, the first hotel owned by Fred Harvey, the man credited with bringing culture to the West. The story is told from three points of view - those of Dinah, Amos, and Ruthie, Dinah's roommate - and that technique worked very well for me.
Character depth is one of this story's strong points. When it came to relationships, Dinah "kept her distance, fearful she'd accidentally share the secrets of her past and let everyone know just how different she really was." Amos and Dinah seem a little stilted or awkward at first, but it's easy to understand why as you get to know them. They reflect the brokenness with which many of us cope, some visibly obvious and others deeply buried. Kim deals with serious life issues head on while confronting sin honestly, in a way not often seen in today's Christian fiction, and I deeply appreciated that.
"God loves bigger and forgives better and gives more
abundantly than any man ever could."
One of this story's main strengths is its spiritual overtones, and I think every reader will be touched in some way. The message of forgiveness is woven throughout every page, and I loved the way Ruthie shared her faith and the resulting scene of redemption. Dinah's character reflects how mistaken self perception can easily blind us to the love around us. And then there's all the wonderful contrasts that Kim beautifully brought out: that we build barriers around ourselves, but God tears them down . . . we allow guilt and shame to condemn us, while God freely offers forgiveness and unconditional love . . . we focus on building earthly relationships to fulfill our wants, while God wants to show us that He is all we need.
Another strength is this story's conclusion, for Through the Deep Waters has one of the sweetest and most satisfying endings I've ever read. I wish there could be a sequel, for I'd like to see more of Amos and Dinah, as well as the development of some of the secondary characters. Highly recommended. 5 stars based on the way this book made me feel.
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling, award-winning author with more than one million copies of her books currently in print. Awards include the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Sawyer lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.
Connect with Kim online at kimvogelsawyer.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thank you to Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.