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The Debt: The Story of a Past Redeemed Paperback – February 17, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Hunt's absorbing look at an insular Christian world-and the well-meaning but flawed people who populate it-will resonate with many evangelical women who have spun cocoons of virtuous activity around themselves, rather than listening to the voice of God. Abel and Emma Rose Howard have taken their ministry to dizzying heights from humble beginnings leading a small church in Wiltshire, Ky., and now spearhead a television ministry with 40 million viewers. But when a young man contacts Emma Rose with the news that he's her son born out of wedlock 28 years ago, her life is turned upside down. Hunt's use of first-person narration helps the reader identify with Emma Rose's internal struggle over her past and how to reconcile it with her future-and with her televangelist husband, Abel. The experienced Hunt (with more than 70 titles to her credit) knows how to keep the story moving and gives the tired plot ideas of an adopted child returning to find his birth mother and the lives of televangelists some fresh zing. She avoids some traps a less talented writer would fall into; the televangelists are misguided but sincere, for example, rather than ridiculous. The ending may be a little pat, but Hunt's story is a wake-up call that should jolt many Christian women out of complacency.
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The Debt features Emma Howard, wife of Abel, who's the head of a growing TV ministry. Because the PTL Club remains a vivid memory, the squeaky clean Abel is almost paranoid about scandal. So when Emma gets a call from "Christopher" and then makes a confession, Abel's thinking blackmail. Christopher is the son Emma gave up for adoption long ago in a series of unsavory events, and he does pose a threat. He's a minister himself, called to one-on-one witness in bars and homeless shelters, and a kind of living rebuke not only to Emma's youth but to the remoteness of Abel's TV show. The well-known Hunt's latest may not be of much interest beyond church circles, but she poses her issues--that is, the simple message of Christ versus slick technology--effectively. John Mort
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