A big applause for Julie. She gracefully created Freed to Forgive, a book that tears at your heart strings and also makes you smile.
Though delicately worded with veiled descriptions, this faith-based novel does depict some disturbing, yet unfortunately all too common, sex trafficking scenes necessary for the plot.
Disclaimer: Though veiled in description, this novel portrays realistic incidences of human trafficking necessary for the plot's development.
This is a sequel to Julie B. Cosgrove’s other two books, Hush in the Storm and Legitimate Lies. Julie has done an excellent job of showing the hopelessness and pervasiveness of sex trafficking. And she does so without going into explicit detail. This is not a book to read for a warm fuzzy feeling, although it does have a happy ending. Read it instead to educate yourself, to stir up righteous anger, and for motivation to join the fight against human trafficking.
Mary L. Hamilton, Author Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series
Freed to Forgive by Julie B. Cosgrove is an excellent weaving together of a heart-wrenching story line with a promise of hope and restoration. Marisol is a young woman who has endured more than anyone should have to—abuse and betrayal of the worst kind. She is also millions of other women throughout the centuries and around the world, even today, who are still held against their will in sex trafficking. For that very reason, the message of Freed to Forgive can speak to any heart, however broken or crushed, that is willing to listen…and let go.
Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com) is a multi-award-winning author of more than 50 books.
Freed to Forgive is the third book in Julie B Cosgrove's powerful series on human sex trafficking. The book is heart wrenching with raw emotions and a serious case of a poor self image. Following Marisol's life from the very beginning until she is a responsible adult opens the readers eyes to the total devastation in the lives of girls who are imprisoned in sex trafficking. This book is hard to put down. I highly recommend it.
--Lena Nelson Dooley, multi-award-winning author of the McKenna's Daughters series and most recent books 8 Weddings and a Miracle and A Texas Christmas
In Julie's novel, Freed to Forgive, the evil of human trafficking abusing girls is novelized. Julie connects our hearts to victims and reminds us that through God there is hope and redemption.
Peggy Sue Wells, author of The Slave Across the Street, a true story of a trafficked upscale Detroit teen.
"Julie B. Cosgrove's new novel "Freed to Forgive" captures the struggle of survivors as they face the past and move forward to the future through forgiveness. Through beautiful writing it captures the heart of true freedom and is a must read for all who need to forgive." Joy Brooks, Executive Director for Prayer For Freedom Ministry to Combat Human Trafficking
Marisol Hernández did a double take. An icy tingle slithered down her arms. She recognized the woman’s face. One she never thought she’d see again. Jen Westlaw. Except now her name read Wilson?
She back-stepped a few paces to peer into Jen’s pixilated bluish-green eyes displayed on the Abundant Life Church’s marquee as it flashed the latest posts from their social media site. The face beckoned her—once again. Yes, definitely the same woman.
They met in 2013. The year Marisol’s life changed. Hadn’t the news reported she’d disappeared without a trace and was presumed dead years ago? Yet there she gleamed in 3D color.
A man with a handsome smile stood next to Jen in the photo. Tom, it read. She’d never learned his name, but she recognized him all right. He’d helped Jen escape. He had appeared again at the shelter on that horrid day—held Marisol’s hand, whispered she could trust him. She had, and part of her still regretted the decision.
Vivid memories flooded her thoughts, pressing against the emotional dam which she’d carefully constructed over the past decade. The hurt, once pooled deep inside, rushed from its stagnant state through cracks in her psyche. Waves of her secret torment rolled and crashed within the walls of her heart, threatening to drag her under. She gasped for breath.
“Watch it. Other people use this sidewalk.” A sharp male voice jolted Marisol back to the present. She’d absent-mindedly edged into the passenger’s path.
She dashed her gaze to the concrete. An old habit. Never look a man in the eyes. That had been pounded into her brain. And her back. Her last jefé once beat her with a belt for doing it. Ten lashes. Obey, or suffer. A tough lesson learned for a spirited, angry teenager who’d fought so hard to survive. She twitched her shoulder blade, the old pain jabbing her once again. Some scars never heal.
In a low voice she apologized to the stranger. “Lo siento. Um, sorry.”
“Yeah. Well, this isn’t Mexico.” Disgust vibrated through his words. “Give them some help and they think they deserve the world.” His grumbling faded with his footsteps.
Her eyes lifted back to the photo of the woman who had changed her destiny. Marisol should be grateful. But she wasn’t. The lady also represented every ugly, vile, and hurtful thing which happened to Marisol that year. Too many remembrances. So much shame. A tear trickled down her cheek. Oh, why did she have to see that face again? When could she finally forget?
With arms tight around her torso, the twenty-three-year-old Hispanic woman gulped back the emotions ebbing in her chest. That was not her life now. She spoke excellent English, carried a permanent green card, and held a good job…for which she’d be late if she didn’t pull it together. So why couldn’t she break her stare? As if the eyes…
Besides ghostwriting and editing for clients, Julie has personally published three Bible studies,an inspirational, a devotional and several novels - Focused (2012), Hush in the Storm (2014) and Legitimate Lies (2015), Freed to Forgive (2015) and Navy Blues (2015).
She is a member of North Texas Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Toastmasters International, Daughters of the King and several web-based groups Julie has one grown son and lives in Fort Worth, TX with two cats.
Visit her website at www.juliebcosgrove.com
Julie, thank you for allowing me to host Freed to Forgive this week.