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Divine    by Karen Kingsbury order for
by Karen Kingsbury
Order:  USA  Can
Tyndale, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Mary Madison is one of Washington D.C.'s most influential women. She has come through horrors and now wants to make a difference in other abused women's lives. She runs a battered women's shelter and uses that venue to share the story of her life with the women who come to her for help. Emma Johnson is one such woman. She's escaped with her children from an abusive husband, but has also been involved with drugs and that addiction continues to pull her back. Emma sees the put-together, intelligent, confident Mary and is intimidated - how could she ever hope to measure up to such a standard?

But as Mary shares the story of her life, Emma sees that Mary too has suffered from many of the same trials and heartaches as she has - unspeakable abuse and addiction. How did Mary overcome such tremendous obstacles? Can Mary introduce Emma, through her actions and her story, to the One who made the difference in her life?

This is an interesting tale, loosely based on the Mary Magdalene story from the Bible. Mary Madison experienced the demons of abuse, addiction, lying, fear, and many others, and Jesus set her free from her strongholds. This modern-day tale doesn't attempt to re-tell the Bible story exactly, which gives a fresh angle and will help readers to understand it better. With all of the controversy surrounding The Da Vinci Code, Divine provides another way to look at Mary Magdalene and Jesus in order to understand, in a contemporary view, how the events might have happened.

The faith message is not subtle; it's an integral part of the story and doesn't pull any punches about the importance of Jesus to Mary's redemption and healing - as such, Divine may not appeal to non-Christians. Karen Kingsbury's writing style is superb and easy to read. I was drawn into the story immediately and was very interested to discover what would happen to Emma. I appreciated how the author used Mary's tragedies and trials to influence Emma's hope. It delights me to think that the bad and ugly things that happen in my life can be used by God for good.

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