Saturday, February 24, 2007

Allison Pittman's Speak Through the Wind ~ Reviewed

Speak Through the Wind
by Allison Pittman
Published by Multnomah
ISBN-10: 1590526252

In the mid-1800's, a little girl is rescued off the streets of New York City. Reverend Joseph offers Kassandra (Sadie, from Ten Thousand Charms) a home, an education, a chance to learn about the love of God, and a cranky housekeeper. It's not a bad package until, when Kassandra is just fifteen years old, Ben Connor sweeps her off her feet, shatters her heart, and steals her hope. From one NYC brothel to another in San Francisco, and a baby in between, Kassandra winds up in Wyoming Territory with scarcely a light in her eye. Then she meets Gloria, who's pregnant and desperate, and Biddy, a young girl of great faith. After all Kassandra has been through, what could they possibly teach her that life's cruelties haven't already? Perhaps the truth that God never left her...and the chance to return home again.

Allison Pittman pens a powerful novel in "Speak Through the Wind."

I've read plenty of prostitute fiction from the same time frame. You'd think I wouldn't find a story that would touch me anew.

However, Kassandra's story is heartbreaking and believable. The tale requires that the reader suffer and learn along with Kassandra from the wisp of a child beginning through the dank reality of adulthood.

At times gritty and gut-wrenching, Pittman manages to tell the truth with just enough detail that the book pulls the reader into the setting. Weak-stomached, weak-kneed, or those who don't want to read about the reality of a fallen world might find the sensory experience of this novel a little too costly.

I see myself in Kassandra's story. No, I've not lived the life of a prostitute. But I have swallowed Satan's lies and made some pretty ugly messes. I've not sold myself for money, but I've sold my self-respect to gain a friend, or my common sense to feel a little better for a brief moment.

Through poignant prose, Kassandra lives and breathes on Pittman's pages.

As a fan of Francine Rivers, I've always been more inclined toward The Last Sin-Eater because of the haunting loneliness of the characters than to Redeeming Love's perfect Hosea. Pittman manages to capture the beauty of both of those novels as she paints a haunting character in Kassandra and a beautiful picture of redemption in "Speak Through the Wind."

I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it and meet Kassandra. I think I could even say that her life changed something within my soul.

Isn't that what Christian fiction is supposed to do?

Reviewed by
Kelly Klepfer

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