“Throughout the process of this book I’ve learned to live in His grace, to write through His power, and to rest in His presence. Oh, how grateful I am to know him as Savior. How wonderful to love and be loved by an infinite, unchanging, life-giving God.”
– Allison Pittman, For Time and Eternity
I found these words-to-live-by on the Acknowledgments page of Allison Pittman’s 2010 novel, which deals incisively and gracefully with a very hard subject: polygamy, and the heartbreak of a “first wife” trapped in it. Allison’s words struck me in part because I was also writing a novel that plunged into hard subjects—places some might feel Christian fiction shouldn’t venture.
So why did I find it important to “go there”? Why did I feel this book had to be written? Because the “bones” of the tale are true, and I wanted to see God glorified for it. While I added fictional detail, at the heart it’s a tale of radical redemption the Lord really wrought.
The story stirred me when my husband first pointed it out to me in a World War II history book. And it still stirs me today, even after I worked for six years to shape the historical material into a novel. It’s a tremendous testimony to how His grace pierces through to the darkest places our world can devise—prisons, torture chambers, brothels. Anywhere men and women are desperate enough to come to the end of themselves is a place God’s power (dynamis, the root word from which we get our word dynamite) can reign.
The Bible shows us example after example where our Lord speaks redemption into dark places. In the gospels alone we meet many figures that can’t be shown with any accuracy on Sunday School felt boards—prostitutes, demoniacs, lepers. Our Lord delivers from the very tomb, thick with the stench of death. And God gets the glory for all of it.
“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified in it.” (John 11:4)
I don’t know about you, but I believe we’re living in the “as in the days of Noah” Jesus spoke of in Matt 24:37. Our world is dark and getting darker. In dozens of nations, being a Christian can bring a death sentence, or get you sent to a “black jail” or a work camp or an organ harvester.
Is that grim? Terribly, if we ignore the dynamis of God. God’s church is growing fastest in the very nations where persecution is hottest. That isn’t new. Much of the New Testament was written to Christians suffering from desperate hardship or undergoing violent persecution (“the fiery ordeal among you,” 1 Pet 4:12).
“You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”
– Corrie Ten Boom
When you boil it down to its essentials, The Plum Blooms in Winter records the journeys of two individuals—a downed American airman and a Japanese woman forced into prostitution—who learn this truth. It’s my fervent prayer that it will speak to others who desperately need to learn it. And isn’t that all of us?
The Plum Blooms in Winter
by Linda Thompson
Series: Brands from the Burning #1
Published by Mountain Brook Ink
Publication Date December 1, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Action/Adventure
Setting: Japan, China World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
A Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge--In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.
A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission--Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal. In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ's forgiveness.
Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother's life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him--even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka's treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends--only to confront a decision that will change everything.
I would like to thank Mountain Brook Ink for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.