Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter Source:
Athanatos Christian Ministries
Shirley Mowat Tucker
Straight out of South Africa comes the poignant tale of Ida Morgan: Her husband murdered, feeling abandoned by God, and alone in the world. Ida's road to healing and wholeness is paved by diamonds in the dust.
Author Shirley Mowat Tucker knows about life in South Africa. She lives there! The trials and triumphs of that country continue to this day and serve as the backdrop of Ida Morgan's excursion into South Africa's secret places: places where there are still wicked men doing wicked things...places where the innocent and defenseless are preyed upon...places drenched in the same bitterness and grief that Ida Morgan understands first hand.
"Diamonds in the Dust" is the Grand Prize winner of Athanatos Christian Ministry's First Annual Christian Novel Contest.
This book is a must-read! It is written by someone who has lived in Africa and knows her subject well. Shirley Mowat Tucker captures the hearts of her readers as she writes about Ida Morgan, a woman whose husband was murdered. The author knows the community well as she writes about Bilharzia, a parasite seen in a unique patch of white hair which she spots on a man's head. Ida becomes angry with God. She says, "Tears don't change anything." Then some needy children come into her life and their needs make her forget her own. She needs God's help to help the kids.
There are realistic violent moments pictured in the novel with abuse of children, but nothing past our Dove guidelines and acceptability level. We learn several kids live alone following their parents' death. And some are sexually exploited by men who prey on them, as they hope to escape the AIDS epidemic but there are references to these things and not graphic scenes. In fact, as the girl called Moses tells Ida, "God has ears" and when they prayed for His help, she showed up. The redemptive theme of this novel is powerful. It is a fairly quick read, at 179 pages. It's interesting that Tucker reveals God mainly working through people in the novel, His hands extended if you will. The right people show up when they are needed. It also features the theme of facing one's fears and part of the fear of the novel's characters are due to the extreme poverty in certain areas in which the story takes place.
This book is the Grand Prize winner of Athanatos Christian Ministry's First Annual Christian Novel Contest. It is the recipient too of our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal and we award the novel five Doves, which is our peak rating. This book deserves it. Read it soon and watch for God's hands in Ida Morgan's life as he proves His faithfulness in consistent ways. And it is most symbolic as we read of Ida's love for the children and we see God's love for us pictured in this same manner.
Content Description: Sex: It's hinted that men make the young girls cry, or in other words have sexual relations with them; it's stated that children couldn't give someone AIDS (sexually speaking.) Language: "Idiot"-1; it's stated a character yelled obscenities but they are not spelled out. Violence: A brick is thrown into a car's windshield; boys beat up a boy with a lead pipe and his wrist is shattered; a newspaper photo features a bloodied and beaten man; a boy remembers his mother not wanting his hugs and throwing a pot at him and he remembers a beating stick; a few youths start to beat up a woman but they are stopped; talk of various characters being beaten; marital difficulties and a man is verbally abusive to his wife; a girl says a man grabbed her by throat and threatened to cut her throat if she told anyone; rock to head kills boy; it's stated a gunshot killed a boy. Drugs: Medication is used in various parts of the novel; a man drinks beer; a young man drinks and threatens youths smaller than himself; a few other drinking beer scenes; treatment for malaria; AIDS. Nudity: Shirtless young men; some characters don't have much to wear. Other: Children are left to live alone when their parents die; a dead dog is seen with flies landing on the corpse; a spider is seen; death and grief; children are fearful they will be killed if they tell on evil men; a man lies to his wife about how he makes his money; a boy remembers his mother being dead and his sisters gone.