When I attended the Law and Life Summit at a conference center this summer, I discovered that the Catholic Writer’s Guild was also meeting. The Guild sessions were open to Law and Life attendees, so I joined a couple offerings.
Stephanee Landsem was presenting at one of the sessions. I was especially interested because she writes historical fiction. She has a new book out, published by Tyndale and offered to conference attendees. I was happy to receive a copy of In a Far-off Land.
When I read the first few chapters, I wasn’t sure that I was going to finish the book. The story is set in Hollywood in 1931, during the depression. The main character, Mina, aspires to be an actress and finds herself in a world of trouble. In her pursuit of becoming a film star she becomes tangled in immoral behavior.
I had to skip to the author’s note to get an idea of where the story was going. I learned that the story was patterned after a Biblical parable, so I continued reading. I learned about Hollywood during the depression.
The author also paints a picture of the effects of the depression on farmers and Mexican immigrants. The book is well researched.
The second half of the book held my attention with themes of family and forgiveness.
We live in a broken world. Landsem provides an explicit picture of brokenness, but advances to repentance and forgiveness. The book could be titled The Prodigal Daughter.