Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
A past filled with shame can be washed away with a love that conquers all
Born to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn’t old enough, her only option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. Eager to put everything behind her, Dinah feels more worthless than ever, based on a single horrible decision she made to survive.
The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a sullied woman like her. Despite his self-consciousness about his handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah Christ’s love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs?
I have enjoyed Ms. Sawyer’s books in the past, but this one really spoke to me as I read it. Dinah was trapped in the only lifestyle she had ever known, a brothel. She was so desperate to get out of there, she would do anything, however her scars from the life she knew from before would follow her. Amos had his own scars as well, his were a bit more visible than Dinah’s, but both of them felt they were unworthy of love from God or other people because of them.
This story really goes into the turmoil that is inside people that have been hurt physically and emotionally by others. Sometimes it can be “Christian” people that hurt us, drag us down in the mire. This book really talks about the journey that Dinah, especially takes through the healing process of learning to accept the love of God and love from others.
She touches on some of the history of the Harvey Girl’s and Fred Harvey’s high standards he expected the girls to uphold. It reminded me of how sometimes Christians can have high standards and rules, which can be good, but sometimes also make those that have been hurt feel tainted or unworthy to change.
I especially liked how she used the history of the Harvey girls, but didn’t go a traditional route of telling about the Harvey Girl’s, but instead Dinah was a chambermaid.
This book was given to me by Blogging for Books. The thoughts contained herein are my own.