It's always a privilege to get to read a book from one of my many talented ICFW blog colleagues. This was the first time that I've read a book by Kathi Macias, but it certainly won't be the last.
Red Ink is the third book in Kathi's Extreme Devotion series. Each book is based in a different country and revolves around different people, so it doesn't matter in what order you read them, but they all share the story of Christians who live in countries where they are persecuted for their faith.
The main character’s name in the book is Zhen-Li. She was raised to observe the Communist party line, including its one-child-per-family policy, but she falls in love and marries a Christian and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted. It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name—“Truth”—and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu (Lord Jesus) and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets—including to children. As a result, Zhen-Li is incarcerated and separated from her family, even as she continues to minister to other prisoners and even to her guards.
This book gripped me and I read it in two days. The story is compelling and the way that Kathi weaves in multiple plotlines switching between China and the USA is masterful. The secondary characters are thoughtfully portrayed - ranging from a lost searching 15 year old girl, to Zhen-Li's family and cellmate, to two elderly women back at a supported living home in the States.
It is not an easy read in the sense that you cannot read it without being confronted by two realities - the severe persecution of Christians in other countries and the existence of the modern day slave trade - something that Kathi's next series The Freedom Series being released next year continues.
To celebrate a year of the ICFW Blog I have a copy of this fantastic book to give away so please leave a comment with your contact email address to be in to win. Entries close at 5pm Thursday 25 November and a winner will be announced on Sunday 28 November.