Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review: The Beloved Daughter

Have you as a Christian ever wondered what you would do in the face of persecution? I'm not talking about someone telling you that you can't say Merry Christmas, I'm talking about the real, raw, repulsive kind of persecution like being tortured to the point of near death? Or worse yet, your son or daughter being tortured right in front of your eyes? Would you still continue to tell your torturers that Jesus is your savior or would you deny Him so that the agony might come to an end?

This is exactly what Chung-Cha's father faces in the opening chapters of  Alana Terry's book, The Beloved Daughter. At the beginning of her story, Chung-Cha is an twelve-year old girl living with her parents in Hasambong in the North Hamyong Province of North Korea. While the story is a fictional account, it is based on historical events taking place in North Korea in 1998.

As her story continues, Chung-Cha and her family are all arrested and put in a prison called Camp 22. Here, she works in the garment factory, one of the most lenient of all the labor jobs in the Camp. Even as a young girl, she is forced to work 12-hour shifts on a 300-calorie-a-day ration. She thinks this is her destiny and that she will be in prison the rest of her life.

While she eventually escapes from her life in prison, she lives in constant fear that she will be found out and returned to the place where she was starved and beaten and kept awake by the screams of her tortured prison-mates.

Though her life is not an easy one, she comes to realize and believe in the faith her father taught her before they were all sent to prison. Bibles are scarce though and she has to rely mostly on memory and the teachings of a few Christians she meets in her journey. The story ends with Chung-Cha facing the most difficult, heart-wrenching decision of her life for which you will both applaud her for doing while pleading with her not to.

I must admit, in reading The Beloved Daughter, I was horrified at the atrocities Chung-Cha and her family faced just because they called themselves Christians. While I of course heard about the persecution of Christians in communist and Muslim countries, a part of me wanted to believe that this was no longer happening in today's world - a world that looks back at the holocaust and wonders how we could have let it happen.

While we may not be facing the wiping out of a whole human race, there are leaders, dictators and tyrants who are trying their best to keep the Christian faith suppressed in their countries. Ironically, shortly after reading this book, I heard about the execution of over 80 people in North Korea and I found myself feeling sad, repulsed and angry that the world seems to be doing nothing to stop such horror. We as Christians who are free to express our faith need to realize what a gift this is and to not take our freedoms for granted.

Even if you are not a practicing Christian, I strongly recommend reading the amazing story of Chung-Cha. The author does a fantastic job of making this a great historical fiction account of the happenings in North and South Korea. It is apparent that she thoroughly researched her subject matter and if you are like studying history and/or current events, you would find this an interesting read. If you are a Christian, I implore you to read The Beloved Daughter and I hope that it deepens your conviction to pray and support the persecuted church. 

Alana Terry will be giving away three kindle e-books of The Beloved Daughter to the first three commenters on this post. Go to this link to claim your free e-book: 

Comments must be made from December 26 through December 30 to be eligible for the give-away.