A Baptism by “Red Ink”!
I anxiously awaited my copy of “Red Ink” by author Kathi Macias to arrive from Amazon, as I had gone to every bookstore, including Christian Bookstores to try to find it; they were either sold out or awaiting shipment. While awaiting the arrival of my copy, I started reading other reviews and impressions of the book, which increased my excitement and wanting to dive in to the read as soon as it arrived.
Admittedly, I have not read any other books or novels by Kathi Macias’s, so “Red Ink” was my first exposure to her writing style...A baptism by “Red Ink”!!
I am a die-hard Jane Austen, Dickens fan and in Christian writing…C.S. Lewis, Francine Rivers, Jerry Jenkins and Tom LaHaye connoisseur. I like my stories descriptive and meaty, challenging my knowledge (historical and/or scriptural), while working with analogies and metaphors to develop the characters and plot….building the conflict to a boiling point that the reader’s thirst for the answers or solution are met and then lead the reader to a place where they want more, while creating the anticipation for the next good read. My expectations as a reader is high and even when I delight in an easy/fun read…I want a challenge to draw me back to the book and to more works from the same author.
“Red Ink” is multi-faceted with three different storylines that ultimately interconnect in some form; even if it is only through prayer.. I was immediately caught up in the story as Ms Macias’s writing technique of introducing all three storylines in the first few short chapters intrigued me, yet didn’t overwhelm with too much information. It is a story of perseverance in the face of evil, the power of unceasing prayers and unshakeable faith in a God that promises deliverance from evil.
The story is centered around three women….two women with a steadfast faith in God, who live on opposite sides of the world and one young girl who is on a Prodigal journey of rebellion against her parents.
The storyline is based on a Christian Chinese woman named Zhen Li, who is torn away from her husband and child, and imprisoned for proclaiming her beliefs in Christianity in a country that frowns on any organized religion other than the doctrine of the State. Throughout the story we learn how Zhen Li perseveres in her prison environment by secretly giving testimony to her shallow cellmate Mei; who uses Zhen Li to make her imprisonment easier. Zhen Li also demonstrates her strength of faith in the face of pure evil by being tortured by Tai Tong a notoriously cold and calculating prison guard, who through an act of charity and forgiveness she saves from certain death following an earthquake.
Woven in amongst Zhen Li’s story, we are introduced to senior citizen, former missionary and prayer warrior, Julia and her friend Laura, who live in an Assisted Living Home. Julia and Laura pray unceasingly for those near and far, known and unknown until they meet the grumpy, cold and distant Margaret who is forced to move to the Home by her children. From the moment that Margaret shows up things get exciting at the home with the theft of one of the residents jewelry, which is connected to a recent visit by Margaret’s granddaughter and namesake, Maggie. Julia and Laura add Margaret and her Granddaughter to their prayer list, but as the story develops, Julia senses a growing need for prayers of protection for someone in
and the young Prodigal that the curmudgeon, Margaret openly defends, but privately worries over. China
Maggie, 15 years old, is on a prodigal journey, running as fast as she can from the discipline and expectations of her parents and school. Maggie finds herself getting in with the wrong people, escaping in to drugs and falling in love with an older man, Jake, who has his own agenda and use for a young girl like Maggie.
The overall story is wonderful and delivers an easy to follow storyline….not quite as meaty as I am used to, but just enough to not drag the story down with detail. I did hope for more description of the environment, but it wasn’t distracting that it wasn’t there. The storyline with Zhen Li becomes repetitive at times, while the transition from non-believer to believer for Mei was heart wrenching; Tai Tong’s change came suddenly and out of no where for me. His evil character was so well developed that his forgiving and helpful acts toward Zhen Li at the end made no sense. I felt like I missed something with Tai Tong’s change and again with Maggie’s story…it suddenly wrapped up and I had to go back and see if I missed a detail. This may not be the fault of the writer…it may be the fault of this reader. The story was well-paced and the characters well developed and interesting. I truly enjoyed reading this book!
“Red Ink” is thought provoking, current and a testimony to the power of what “extreme devotion” can do and be like on an International scene that persecutes those who believe. It is also an honest portrayal of a society turning its back on Christianity and being lured in to selfish gain by taking advantage of those weaker or ignorant of the evil in the world. It is a demonstration of the power of prayer and Christianity in action, no matter your age, where you live and what culture you live.
I highly recommend Kathi Macias’s newest edition to her Extreme Devotion Series…Red Ink
…it is a five star read….it is a great place to start your love of Kathi Macias’s work…a Baptism by “Red Ink”…POWERFUL!!