God and the Hillbilly
by Susan M. Hogan

"God forgived us for our bad ways, and we has to forgive other peoples for their bad ways."

Young wife Linda is trapped with an abusive spouse who explodes with violence at her smallest failures and is beginning to do the same to their two young children. Linda has one safe haven—her computer, a gift from her brother Larry. With it, she secretly corresponds with two women who both advise her to leave home after an especially frightening and painful beating. Using a phone number supplied by one of them, she winds up in a shelter for battered women where she and her children enjoy kindness and security. Additionally, she is befriended and encouraged by Mary, a social worker who finds Linda exceptional. Linda is hired to assist at a nursing home, excelling at her job despite her very unusual “hillbilly” accent and folksy sayings, which her new friends find charming. Linda knows that God has saved her, and even in the face of the worst devastation she hangs on to that belief.

Hogan, whose own religious life supplies her inspiration, has written this book in hopes of reaching out to women in need of rescue. Her writing style is plain and credible, and she excels here in the creation of many interlocking plot tines that maintain the reader’s interest. She handles the different strands with care, interweaving a new romance between Larry and Mary with the former strains and current challenges of Linda’s past and her spiritually based determination to rise above all negative influences. The imaginative story, which includes a totally unexpected change of direction in mid-stream, features almost daily changes, the power of simple human interaction to heal hearts, and some spiritual occurrences that lift the characters out of themselves at times. Because her novel has a powerful underlying message, readers may wish to share it with church, community, or other similar reading and study groups.

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