Spirit Woman by Debra Shiveley Welch is a magnificent combination of fiction and reality. Nickie, tormented by her troubled childhood, shuts herself down to her surroundings. She does not share the details of her past with anyone. Her low self-esteem forces her to believe that there is no hope for her to find love, and so she has almost given up her quest for true love until she meets Javan Whitman. With him, her fears and doubts vanish into thin air, and -- in spite of her well wishers' warnings -- she ties the knot as soon as he proposes. However, right from the next day of her wedding, she realizes that she has married a demon, and thus begins her marital journey filled with violence and hatred.
The portrayal of the characters is done on an emotional level by sharing their stories. In any book, as a reader, I find it the best way of making an instant connection with the characters. The narrative style of writing does justice to the overall plot of the book. The introduction of a guardian angel was a pleasant and welcome surprise. Some readers may find it bizarre, but being a hopeless believer in extraordinary existences, I found it intriguing.
In Spirit Woman, Debra has touched on many social issues. In her sneaky way, she advises everyone not to jump into a relationship. Love is blind, but you don't have to be. Living alone may be depressing, but living with a monster would be life threatening. She has also highlighted the lifelong lack of self-esteem in people who have had a less than happy childhood. The story is packed with dramatic twists, which are capable of keeping readers' eyes fixed on the pages. I would recommend this book to readers who feel very strongly about the prevailing injustices against women and who believe in the existence of angels -- or, at least, enjoy reading about them.
From the Author
As the story unfolds, we are witness to Nickie's bravery and the loyalty and courage of her friend Beau. Does she escape and does Beau manage to save her, or will she ride the wing of Wakinyan Zitka (Wah-keen-yahn-zheet-kah: The Thunderbird) to the edge of the universe where she would walk the five steps to the Spirit Path and into the Spirit World?
At the time of my travail, most people refused to help. They didn't want to get involved, and there was the silent command, "Thou shalt not interfere with a family." As I entered adulthood, and broke away from my torment, I began to ask questions, many questions, heartrending questions, and to confront the terrible conclusion I had reached that somehow, I was not worthy to be saved.
As a mother, I find myself perplexed as to how anyone could harm a child: God's greatest gift. I wonder why my love was thrown away, and I think of my compatriots who are enduring abuse now. Men,women and children without a voice, longing for love and deeply, deeply ashamed of what is happening to them.
Yes, ashamed. Somehow we internalize that we are defective in some way: no one can love us; no one cares about us. We take the blows, the neglect and the abuse as our due: "It's my fault. If I could just behave better, be prettier, smarter, faster, if I could, if I could...if I could." Nothing you do is good enough, so it must be your fault.
I used to walk at night in the hopes of avoiding the violence that was the makeup of my home. Peering into windows as I walked past, I'd see families sitting around a table, laughing, talking; a father lifting his little girl high above him as she squealed with delight; father and son in a tickling match with Mother watching and laughing, holding her sides, face glowing. A clean house, a warm house, a house full of laughter, all underscoring the fact that mine was a dark, dirty, vicious hell. It was my fault. It had to be my fault, my shame, and so the hopes and dreams within me slowly died.
Our life's experiences, kindnesses and even cruelties are like a set of dominoes, stood on end, waiting for the catalyst that will set them to falling into the pattern they will finally form as one touches the other, touches the other, touches the other. So my life was touched by an incredible woman who showed me that I was worthy, that I was intelligent, that I could have a life beyond the torment that could be clean, healthy, and satisfying. Had it not been for Mother Aquinas, I think that I may have been lost. But she cared, she helped, she saved me: me - not a statistic, not a number - me. Years later I adopted a little boy born with cleft lip and palate and was able to give him the love and support I didn't have. I'm not sure that I would be the mother I am today had it not been for Mother Aquinas, now Sister Helen Marie. She helped me break the cycle of abuse by helping me. Helping me, the individual, the battle torn.
I am not a statistic. I have a name. I have a face. I have a soul. I am a veteran of abuse.