Life in Defiance is the third in the Defiance, Texas trilogy. And it doesn't disappoint. Mary writes so beautifully and creates characters with such depth that you feel like you're closing the book on people you know when you come to the end. She balances the pain of life with the beauty and grace of God, sometimes found in unusual places.
I will say upfront that this book deals with spousal abuse and that might be a tough subject for some people to read about. Mary doesn't gloss over the details, but instead focuses on the pain, shame, and brokenness a battered wife feels. And yet she doesn't leave us there, but shows how God's redemption is present even in the most desperate of circumstances.
Pick up Life in Defiance and you won't be disappointed.
Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all?
Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie’s journey typifies the choices we all face—whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
My husband and I have helped women caught in the middle of domestic violence, and we’ve seen the church grapple with how to help women in this situation. Writing about Ouisie Pepper, a pastor’s wife who is trying to hide a huge secret helps bring to light the complicated issue.
I have encountered folks who hide, who seem to be upstanding Christians in public, but who hide their issues behind closed doors. I’ve seen the tortured state of their souls, and I’ve wondered why folks hide so much. Based on those encounters, I formulated the Defiance, TX trilogy to address hiding versus authentic, amazing faith.
Is any part of the book true?
Only in terms of walking alongside women who have experienced domestic violence. My story is not that at all. But I have seen the devastation up close with friends.
And then of course, I am writing the book, so there’s always a lot of me woven through all the characters.
Do you have a favorite character in Life in Defiance? Why?
I would say Emory Chance because she is so lost throughout the series, and deeply broken, but in this book she truly starts to absorb the beauty of Jesus. That, in a way, is the story of my life. I was a broken, needy girl who Jesus rescued.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That you may encounter Jesus in outcasts. It’s not always the folks who promote themselves as believers who truly walk as Jesus did. Jesus comes in distressing disguise. Will we miss Him?
National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.
Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas.
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My thanks to Zondervan for providing a review copy.