Through the Deep Waters
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a bestselling author whose book sales exceed one million copies. As the recipient of numerous awards, Sawyer is renowned for her ongoing theme of gentle hope that weaves itself throughout her works. In this new offering, she brings to her faithful fan base a story of profound loss and despair that is countered by unconditional love and forgiveness.
With snappy and lovable characters, Sawyer’s tale opens in 1883 Chicago. Tori is an infamous prostitute at the Yellow Parrot, where she raised her daughter, Dinah, along with the other prostitutes and their customers. Dinah, innocent though she is, won’t stay that way for very long if she doesn’t manage to escape from the clutches of the greedy Madam, Miss Flo, who runs the establishment. Her only friend and protector, Rueben the cook, suggests that she answer an advertisement to become a Harvey Girl as a waitress. Dinah cannot conceive of a life outside of the brothel, though she longs for it.
"...a story of profound loss and despair that is countered by unconditional love and forgiveness."
Just as she begins to hope that she might escape, Miss Flo tells her that Tori is dying and will be cast out into the street if she won’t work. Frightened and overwhelmed, Dinah talks with Tori about her health, all the while longing for a real mother-daughter connection. Tori’s condition pushes Dinah into making the one choice she swore she would never do: become a prostitute.
Miss Flo persuades Dinah to accept a one-night job with a man at a hotel, but as soon as they arrive, she changes her mind. The young girl has no idea what is in store for her once the stranger pays for her attentions for the night. After the hateful act is complete, Dinah falls apart, and Miss Flo weakly tries to comfort her. As soon as Dinah’s mother passes away and is buried, Dinah leaves in search of the job as a Harvey Girl. But she soon discovers she can’t escape what happened to her that one night with that single man.
Dinah does manage to travel to the Clifton Hotel, but is told she isn’t old enough to work as a waitress and is offered a position as a chambermaid instead. With no other options, she takes the job and finds herself rooming with Ruthie, the spirited and impetuous daughter of the local preacher. Ruthie attempts to bring Dinah out of her shell, but is soon put off by Dinah’s resistance. Soon after, Amos Ackerman, a chicken farmer, takes notice of Dinah, and he, too, tries to bring her out of the prison she has made for herself. With time, and unconditional love and kindness, Dinah slowly starts to trust both Ruthie and Amos --- and eventually God.
THROUGH THE DEEP WATERS is a novel of gentle hope that ever so slowly dawns within the hearts of Sawyer’s characters and reaches outward to readers who, as she intends, will discover that it never is too late to begin again.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on May 25, 2014