Bambola has crafted an engaging novel about the challenges of ministering to the inner city. It got off to a slow start but after about a hundred pages or so, I was hooked.
The plot revolves around three characters, Cynthia is a newspaper reporter. When the police fail to pursue the murder of two homeless men, killed within a few days of each other, Cynthia is disturbed. She convinces her boss to let her go undercover as a homeless woman to find the story of these men.
Cynthia finds her way to a newly re-opened homeless shelter and ministry. She meets Jonathan. He had been the pastor of a successful but dead church and had followed God's leading to bring the abandoned shelter back to life.
And then there is Stubby, a homeless man and good friend to the two men killed. He also finds his way into Jonathan's homeless shelter. The lives of these three people come together midst the dangerous territory of drugs and gangs.
The way these characters interact and are contrasted is well done. Cynthia is a pessimist. She has been a dirt digging reporter for years and is discouraged about mankind. Jonathan is a godly man who listens to the Holy Spirit and obeys His leading. He walks in faith, seeing people coming to the Lord and healed. Stubby has a big heart. He had a tough break in his career and never rebounded, turning to drugs. But when he meets Jonathan, he is in for a life changing event.
I really liked how Bambola helps us experience the world of the homeless. I had no idea the number of homeless women was on the rise. Many have children with them and are fleeing dangerous marriages. We get a good sense of what happens to people when they get beaten down.
There are other great characters too. Bernie is Cynthia's boss and treats her like he would a daughter. Gertie was Jonathan's secretary back at his church and is a busy body and gossip. Sweet Miss Emily is a seventy year old woman who used to be homeless and now loves them with her cooking.
This is a great novel. It has all the elements I require – well crafted and engaging characters, a plot that is realistic and captivating, and a setting in which we learn about an aspect of society. There's suspense and romance too.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Sylvia Bambola was born in Romania and lived in Germany. She was seven when her family came to the United States. She has written eight novels and has two grown children. You can find out more at http://www.sylviabambola.com/.
Heritage Publishing House, 408 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through BookCrash. My comments are an independent and honest review.