Unto the Least of These
by Douglas Alan
Author Reputation Press

"What a way to end my life here in the middle of nowhere. In a snowstorm, holding a woman who’d never have lifted a hand to help me or anybody else."

The Mountain Between Us meets Before the Fall in this story of a pious man who saves a brutish Hollywood celebrity from a plane crash in the snow and, through his selfless deeds, saves some of her soul as well. When widower and father Dan finds himself badly injured and among the only survivors after his L.A. to Denver plane goes down in a blizzard, he rescues and drags to safety a world-famous black starlet whose crass behavior and flagrant entitlement have already distinguished her as a selfish, unprincipled person.

At the core of Dan’s thoughts (and a central question the book explores) is whether someone so flawed is worth saving. Dan repeatedly muses that, were their roles reversed, Eva would undoubtedly leave him to die. Yet Dan’s steadfast faith and commitment to a life of doing the right thing guides his actions as he navigates them to relative safety and uses rudimentary tools and supplies to nurture her significant wounds.

As a character, Eva is a doozy, so nasty even in the face of her terrifying circumstances, that her depiction edges close to a caricature. Likewise, the story’s construct of a white man of faith sacrificing to rescue and teach a black woman of questionable morals could be viewed by some as portraying uncomfortable racial and paternalistic overtones. However, his righteousness contrasted with her sinning certainly makes its point that faith can be shared and lives can be changed. Eva’s final reckoning is moving, and as she contrasts her regular life with the selfless care and lessons she received from Dan, her awakening is profound and affecting.

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