Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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Embrace Me
by Lisa Samson

Reviewed by Rel Mollet

"Lisa Samson's consummate skill as a writer is on daring display in this confronting tale of despair, unbearable anguish, forgiveness and grace."

"It's amazing how good a priest looks when you've got nobody else to turn to."

The painful confessions of a pastor who once sought fame and fortune, to the detriment of his congregation, open this confronting tale by the talented and perceptive, Lisa Samson. Self mutilation seems the only way Drew can get respite from the memories of his egotistical manipulation and betrayal of those who looked up to him, and especially, those who loved him. Then Drew begins to confide in Father Brian who encourages to him to write his confession.

"No kids I ever knew pictured themselves being sideshow freaks someday. I didn't either."

Interspersed between Drew's personal revelations is the real time story of two woman who share an uncommon friendship arising from a world of pain. Valentine, a woman whose horrific burns earn her the name of Lizard woman and Lella, born with a beautiful face but no limbs, have little recourse but to earn a living as sideshow freaks with Roland's Wayfaring Marvels and Oddities. During their off season the two woman take a break in a quiet North Carolina town, hiding away from the world and its prying eyes until Augustine, a dread locked monk covered in floral tattoos and Charmaine Hopewell, a TV singer and evangelist, gently beckon Valentine to face the world again. Fearful and embittered, Valentine is all too aware that her outer scars merely hint at the damage that was wreaked upon her heart and soul. Will she ever be able to trust and step into the light?

Lisa Samson's consummate skill as a writer is on daring display in this confronting tale of despair, unbearable anguish, forgiveness and grace. Embrace Me is as compelling as it is confronting as Lisa communicates Valentine's wretchedness and heartache as if it is the reader's own. The ugliness and cruelty of Drew's past behaviour is unforgivable yet Lisa's unique ability to tap into a tormented soul and reveal the humanity beneath is superlative, evoking sympathy when there should be none. This story depicts the dangers of both men and churches, who seek to wield God's name for their own purpose, while slowly but surely revealing the way God intended His people to offer His love – overflowing and without blame bringing His healing to the broken hearted and His redemption to the undeserving. The message of Embrace Me is direct yet full of subtleties that I continue to ponder. This is not a story to be read lightly. Be sure to take the time to contemplate the powerful and significant truths revealed in this complex and wonderful tale.

Rel MolletRel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".