Sunday, July 29, 2012

Remember Me

Remember Me
Crossway Books (July 31, 2012)
Penelope Wilcock

Chapter 1 Excerpt

Like a subtle wraith of mist in the still-dark of the night in late July he stole: silent and fleet, not hesitating. He came from the northwest corner of the church, where a small door led out into the abbey court from the side of the narthex. He did not cross the court, but passed stealthily along the walk between the yew-hedge and the perimeter wall. Swift and noiseless he slipped along the close. It was a clear night but the dark of the moon, and only the stars gave light at this hour of the morning. At the end of Lauds, as the brothers shuffled back up the night stairs to resume their sleep, he had abstracted himself so unobtrusively that no one had seen. He had dodged back into the nave and stood in the deep shadows of the arcade in the side aisle on the north side of the church, hardly breathing. When all was still, he opened the small door with utmost caution; sliding the bolts back slowly and steadily without a sound, drawing the door closed and lifting and dropping the latch with barely a click, he left, and he was outside in the freshness of the night. Such faint light as the stars gave out found his silver hair, but that was the only glimmer of his presence as he slid from the abbey court along the close.

Peartree Cottage stood in the middle of the row of houses. The wicket gate stood ajar, and he pushed it open without a sound. As he stepped into the garden, the herbs gave up their fragrance underfoot. He felt a slug fall into his sandal. He stooped to flick out the slug and to scratch up a handful of earth that he flung at the upstairs window. No response. He tried again. This time the casement was opened with irritable vigor from the inside, and Madeleine’s voice said sharply, “Who is it?” Peering down suspiciously into the garden she might not have seen him, but he moved very slightly and most quietly spoke her name.

“Whatever do you want?” she whispered then, surprised. “Will you let me in?” She heard the soft-spoken words. And as she came in the dark down the narrow ladder stairway, she realized the implications of this visit. Naturally cautious, she asked herself, Are you sure you welcome this? Just in going down the stairs, in opening the door, she realized her heart was saying, Yes.

As quietly as she could, she drew back the bolts and turned the key, lifted the latch, and opened the door to him.

“Whatever has possessed you? What on earth do you think you’re doing?” she whispered fiercely as he came into the room. “Shall I light the candle?”

“Nay, nay! There are no curtains, you might as well light a beacon,” he said softly. “Can you not see?”

He himself had good night vision; it was an honest question. “I wouldn’t need to see!” she whispered back. “Who else would risk us both being thrown out by coming here at this time of the night? Are you certain no one saw you?”

“It’s only a fool who is ever certain no one saw him. I surely hope not though, or we are done for, as you say.”

In silence they stood then, not three feet between them in the warm darkness of the cottage. Embers tidied together on the hearth still glowed from the small fire Madeleine had lit to cook her supper. They gave out hardly any light at all: but between the embers and the stars, the shapes of things in the room and the man who stood before her could be clearly enough discerned.

“Well?” she said then. “What should I think? Why are you here?”

He stood silently. She waited for his reply. She knew well enough, but did not dare to presume what she hoped for.

“Do you . . . ” His voice sounded unsure then; she heard the vulnerability in it. “Do you want me?”

Madeleine hesitated one last moment. There was still time to go back on this. She heard the intake of his breath in anxious uncertainty.

So she said in quick reassurance, “Of course I want you. With the whole of me. But is this honest? Isn’t it stolen? Aren’t we deceiving my brother?”

But he waited for no further discussion: she was in his embrace then, the ardent hold of yearning that she and he had waited for, it felt like so long. He did not kiss her, simply held her to him, his body pressed trembling against hers.

She closed her eyes and took in the feel of him; the heat of his hunger for her, the beating of his heart and his quickened breath—all of him, bone and muscle and skin, the soul of him that lit every part, the pulse of desire and destiny. She loved the touch of him, the smell of him. She knew by heart every mannerism, every trick of movement and expression, every inflection of his voice. In any crowd she would have turned at his footstep, knowing whom she heard.

“I had to come to you,” he whispered, his face against her hair. “I couldn’t think, I couldn’t sleep; I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything. I know I can’t have you, I do know. But I need to have the memory of just one time together: for a refuge, for a viaticum—something real. I have been so desperate for you . . . to touch you . . . to hold you close to me . . . to feel your heartbeat and bury my face in your hair. Oh, my love, my love . . . I have ached to hold you.”

She felt his hand lift to her head, caressing and by the starlight she saw in his face such tenderness, such a flowing of love toward her as she had never imagined life might offer. He kissed her then, delicate kisses as light as a lacewing landing on a leaf: kissed her throat, her jaw, her cheekbones, her brow, kissed her eyelids closed, and then she felt his lips brush the curve of her cheek to find her mouth. He too closed his eyes as she parted her lips to the slow, beautiful, sensual rhapsody of his lover’s kiss.
She felt the momentous tide of it overflow through all of her like the wave-swell of the sea; then before she could bear to let him go, he drew back from his kiss, but still holding her close. She wished she could see him properly, read the look in his eyes dark in the darkness.

“This is not what I thought,” he whispered, “not what I expected.”

He felt her body tense at his words and said hastily, “No! No, I didn’t mean what you think. You are everything I want, all I long for! It’s just that I had imagined this would lay things to rest; allow us to acknowledge something that is between us, and let it have its moment. I thought it might make it easier to relinquish it and give it back to God. But it doesn’t feel like that now.

“Now that I am holding you I want never to have to let you go. I want us to share a bed and make love together, but I want us to share a home and make a life together too. I want time to discover all the things I don’t know about you yet. I want to watch you washing at the sink in the morning as the sun comes streaming in through the open door. I want to watch you brushing your hair. I want to find you kneading dough for our loaf at the table when I come in with the firewood for our hearth. I want you to teach me about herbs and how to grow them.”

“Brother Walafrid could teach you about that,” she murmured.

“Yes, I know,” he whispered, “but I don’t feel the same about Brother Walafrid as I do about you.”

She had rested her head against the hollow beneath his collar bone as she listened to these words. She heard the smile in his voice, and he bent his head to kiss the top of hers.

“When I entered monastic life,” he said, in the quietest undertone, “it was for pragmatic reasons—I had no money, was the thing: and that’s what keeps me there still; no money. I’ve heard men talk about vocation often enough, but I couldn’t feel my way to it—didn’t really know what they meant. I have never had a sense of vocation; until now.
“Now, all of me wants to be with all of you forever. Now I know what vocation is. But I am fifty years old, and I have no trade and no family. There is nothing I can offer you, and there is nowhere for us to go—even supposing you want me too.

“You asked me if this was honest. It’s probably the most honest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I know it’s beyond reach. If I come back here again, someone will see, it will be discovered somehow—these things always are; but I thought I could risk just this one time. And I can offer nothing more. You and I both, we depend on the charity of the community to house us; there are no other choices. Like the poor everywhere, we have no rights and no options. But one night, for pity’s sake, just one night! And it’s not even a night; only a miserly hour between the night office and Prime. But after this, you must not watch for me nor wait for me, for I shall not be able to come to you—not ever again; but, oh my darling, remember me, remember this hour we had. If you get a chance of happiness with someone else, take it with both hands, I shall not be jealous. And deceiving John? Up to a point. I won’t tell him, and I won’t let him see. But I wouldn’t lie to him, and I won’t pursue this. It’s just that I couldn’t have lived the rest of my life starving to hold you for one time close to me. Maybe it is stolen. Yes—it is. But a starving man will snatch a crust of bread because it is life to him.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Kingdom

The Kingdom
Crossway Books (June 30, 2012)
Brian M. Litfin


The rulers of the earth took counsel together, and the Pact they made defined the centuries to come. Jean-Luc Beaumont con- vened the historic meeting at which the Pact was signed. It was his second greatest achievement.

His first was still being alive.

In the summer of 2042 no one knew the world was about to end. Beaumont, the cocky young CEO of a Swiss chemical company, didn’t pay much attention to the story he read in the Tribune de Genève about the strange virus devastating Japan. But the human race was about to learn what the murderous X-Virus could do.

The new supervirus raced around the globe like a bullet train, claim- ing every life it touched. Death came with agonizing cramps and a gush of vomit and blood. As the body count rose, panic set in. Citizens rioted, governments crumbled, and the horrified superpowers watched their worst nightmare come true. When a few ruthless dictators pulled the nuclear trigger against their long-hated rivals, retaliation was impossible to resist. In this way modern civilization met an ugly death under poisoned skies.

For several decades apocalyptic chaos reigned across the globe. Food was the only thing on anyone’s mind. Tribal bands pursued agriculture by primitive methods while ruthless warlords guarded the communal fields. Farming and fighting—those were the two occupations in the brave new world. Each tribe was separated from its neighbors by empty spaces that eventually returned to forest, though that did not prevent raids. Brutal wars over the food supply characterized the middle decades of the twenty- first century. The anarchy devoured the weak and timid, yet it opened doors of opportunity to men with the iron will to survive—men like Jean-Luc Beaumont.

By the time he was fifty, Beaumont was king of Europe’s Genevan tribe. Old Geneva was gone, of course. A ballistic missile had erased all traces of the Jet d’Eau, the Reformation Wall, and the splendid St. Pierre Cathedral on the hill above the lake. But a tribe of warriors and farmers had coalesced in the region, producing crops in the Rhône Valley to fill their stomachs and wines along Lac Léman to numb life’s pain. For tenyears Beaumont ruled his tribe with ruthless efficiency until a coup in 2070 forced him out.

The exiled king sailed up the Aar River with forty tough warriors and nothing to eat. The year was waning, and winter’s chill was already in the air. Harassed from behind, Beaumont pressed upstream until dense wilder- ness finally swallowed the refugees. They approached the foothills of the Alps with little hope of survival but were surprised to discover a rabble of German-speaking peasants making a decent living off dairy cattle in the Bernese Oberland. Beaumont thanked his god and ordered his men to halt.

The winter that year was a hard one, with too little bread for supper and too much cheese, yet the refugees survived by assimilating into the mountain culture. When spring came, Beaumont knew where he would establish his new kingdom. La Nouvelle Suisse, he tried to call it, but the peasants preferred their own name: Schweiz.

Most of Beaumont’s warriors were young, which meant they had no memory of the vanished world that existed before the Great War of Destruction. But as a former chemical engineer, Beaumont recalled ancient secrets he could turn to his advantage. He amassed charcoal from willow and hazel, saltpeter from stables and chicken coops, and sulfur— always the hardest ingredient to obtain—from nearby hot springs. The king picked three men to gather these substances, empowering them as archpriests of a new religious triad whose gods were borrowed from classical mythology. However, the secret of combining the ingredients into gunpowder remained unknown to each priest. Such arcane knowledge could only be entrusted to one person. For this, Beaumont chose Greta, the peasant witch he had taken as his lover.

Greta had long served her village as the mediatrix of the dawn god. She was a dark-haired vixen dripping with occult magic. Beaumont rec- ognized Greta’s beguiling power, and he used it, though not without cau- tion. Together the king and his consort established a new religion under a divine overlord, the Bright Star, Astre Brillant. He was the Bringer of Light, or Lucifer as the Bible described him. Beaumont and Greta hated that book and hated even more the God of its pages—for Astre Brillant, the deity who supplied their power and position, hated him too.

La Nouvelle Suisse grew strong, and with it grew Beaumont’s lust for vengeance against the Genevans who had evicted him. In time he made a treaty with the German tribes of the north. They were rough men who dwelled in tangled forests, but they fought with violence and vigor. In the ninth year of Beaumont’s reign he ordered the troops of his Royal Guard, allied with German mercenaries, to invade the Genevan lands. The thun- derous explosions and acrid stench of Beaumont’s gunpowder bombs sent the Genevan warriors fleeing the battlefield. Crops were destroyed, blood was spilled, and the elderly king savored his revenge.

But then Greta brought disturbing news. Missionaries of the Christian God had arrived in Geneva, having navigated up the Rhône from Marseilles. “Astre Brillant came to me in a dream,” Greta said. “He com- mands us to eradicate that religion once and for all.” The prophetic words of Greta’s decree launched Beaumont on his last great quest.

After the missionaries were rounded up and murdered, an expedition set out for Marseilles. A hundred German confederates joined the Royal Guardsmen sailing down the Rhône. At last Jean-Luc Beaumont, king of La Nouvelle Suisse and conqueror of Geneva, met the prince of Marseilles with great fanfare. In no time he managed to worm his way into the city’s politics and manipulate the foolish prince into summoning delegates from the three kingdoms that ringed the nearby seas.

Soon the ships began to arrive, each bearing an important guest. Ambassadors came to Marseilles from Liguria, from Rome, and even from the Isle of Sicily, which sent as its delegate the firstborn son of the crime boss who ran the Clan. When the chessboard was laid out and the pieces were in place, Beaumont made his opening move: he summoned Greta to invoke the forces of darkness upon the momentous council. Greta’s magic impressed the gathered delegates. Their awe made it a simple matter to convince them to sign a treaty.

The Pact was an alliance based on common interest. The Romans, Sicilians, Ligurians, Marseillans, Germans, and Swiss all realized they had little to gain by fighting each other. Stability had finally been achieved in the post-nuclear world. Riches flowed to the elite at the top. The iron fist of oppression ensured that the peasants’ crushing poverty produced extreme wealth for the lords. To maintain this lucrative status quo, the delegates agreed not to meddle in one another’s affairs, a policy that would lead to deep and long-lasting xenophobia.

Yet a nonaggression pact wasn’t all Beaumont wanted. He knew a single powerful force could overthrow the wealthy rulers’ reign: Christianity, the faith that dignified human beings by giving even the lowliest peas- ant a sense of value before God. That religion had proven it could unify people across economic, political, and social lines. Beaumont recalled how Christianity had appealed to Middle Easterners, Africans, Westerners, Latinos, and Asians alike. “The last Pope was even Chinese!” he com- plained to the men at the council, though most of them were too young to know what he meant. Yet when old Adolfo Borja of Rome nodded his head, the gathered rulers couldn’t help but notice. Beaumont must be right: Christianity was their greatest threat.

Greta returned to the room then, resplendent in the garb of a Swiss High Priestess. Her aura was terribly exotic. The scent of the netherworld was upon her, and the men in the room were transfixed. Beaumont smiled, confident the Pact he desired would soon be achieved. Greta produced a razor, its silver blade reflecting the light from candle sconces on the wall. A single pitcher and six glass vials were placed on the table among the men. A hush fell upon them.

Beaumont offered his arm. Greta opened a vein.

And so it was that on that fateful day each man left the room bearing a vial of intermingled blood as proof of his sacred vow. A secret society of assassins would be formed. All followers of the Enemy would be extermi- nated. Their scriptures would be destroyed. The name of Jesus would be blotted from the earth. At last the rulers of the nations had burst the bonds of the Creator God. Christianity had come to an end in Europe. The faith would be forgotten by everyone. And for many years it was.

But then, more than three centuries later, a young army captain named Teofil followed Anastasia of Edgeton into the Beyond to rescue her from evildoers. Teo and Ana wanted only to return to the land they called Chiveis, yet a mysterious hand seemed to lead them in the opposite direction. In the ruins of an ancient cathedral, high upon the single-spired roof, they discovered a mysterious book. Though they did not know what it was, they brought it home, opened it, and looked into its pages.
And things began to change.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wedded To War

Wedded to War
• River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)
Jocelyn Green

Chapter 1 - Excerpt

Monday, April 22, 1861

New York City

When Charlotte and Alice told their mother they were taking the omnibus down Broadway, they weren’t lying. They just didn’t tell her where they would be getting off. There was simply no time for an argument today.

Boarding at Fourteenth Street, the sisters paid the extra fare for their hoop skirts, as if they were separate passengers, and sat back on the long wooden bench for the ride.

“This is against my better judgment, you know.” Alice’s voice was barely audible above the clatter of wheels and hoof beats over the cobblestones.

“Don’t you mean Jacob’s?” Charlotte cast a sidelong glance at her sister.

Alice twirled a ringlet of her honey-blonde hair around her finger —a nervous childhood habit she never outgrew—but said nothing.

She didn’t have to. Ever since she had married the wealthy businessman a few months ago, she had been even more pampered—and sheltered—than she had been growing up. Heaven help her when they reached their destination.

“I’ll have you home by teatime and none the worse for wear.” Charlotte’s voice was softened by just a hint of guilt. “I promise.”

The omnibus wheels jolted over a broken cobblestone, bouncing the passengers on their benches. Releasing her grip from the edge of the bench, Alice raised an eyebrow at her sister. “Just tell me why I let you talk me into coming.”

Charlotte grinned. “I’ve got an idea.”

“Why do I have the feeling it isn’t a good one?” Alice planted her palms on the bench beside her again, bracing herself against the jarring ride.

“Whatever you do you mean?”

“Do you remember your idea to adopt that lame squirrel we found?”

“I did let it go.” And there were more important things on Charlotte’s mind. She squinted at the front page of The New York Times held up by the man seated across from her. Washington Still Isolated—New York Seventh Regiment Arrives in Annapolis by Steam—

“Only after it chewed through five of Mother’s best doilies and made a nest in the velvet armchair.”

Charlotte turned from reading headlines to face her sister. “I was ten!”

“And I was eight, and still old enough to know better. There were other times, too, like when you chose that outrageous reading on the value of a woman’s education to recite for our class at finishing school. Completely at odds with the context of the school.”

Charlotte chuckled. “Exactly why it was so perfect! But today’s idea is even better. I’ve found a way to actually dosomething for the war effort.”

“And what do you call knitting socks for the troops? Rolling bandages? Doesn’t that mean anything?”

“Of course it does. But I mean something else. Something more.”

Alice’s eyes narrowed, but she let it rest as the omnibus slowed to a halt and more passengers squeezed beside the sisters. Any further conversation would soon be drowned out by the cacophony of Broadway.

The avenue throbbed with life, like an artery coursing down the island of Manhattan. Ten days into the war, recruiting offices for the Union army had already cropped up along the avenue, their entrances clogged with eager young men. Between Canal Street and Houston, the street teemed with gentlemen in spats and ladies in silks, their musk colognes and lavender perfumes cloying on the warm breeze. The white marble façade of St. Nicholas Hotel between Broome and Spring Streets dominated the west side of Broadway. In front of The Marble Palace facing Canal Street, porters in their brass-buttoned, blue uniforms opened carriage doors and escorted their elite customers inside, where they would no doubt spend staggering sums on the latest Parisian fashions.

But Charlotte and Alice did not get off at any of these places. At least not today. For just a few blocks south of The Marble House, and just a few blocks east of the German-Jewish secondhand clothing shops on lower Broadway, the steady pulse of polished society gave way to the erratic beat of Five Points, the world’s most notorious slum.

Alice squeezed her sister’s hand so tightly Charlotte couldn’t tell if it was motivated by anxiety or anger for bringing her here.

If Broadway was Manhattan’s artery, Five Points was its abscess: swollen with people, infected with pestilence, inflamed with vice and crime. Groggeries, brothels, and dance halls put private sin on public display. Although the neighborhood seemed fairly self-contained, more fortunate New Yorkers were terrified of Five Points erupting, spreading its contagion to the rest of them.

This was where the Waverly sisters got off.

Competing emotions of fear and excitement tugged at Charlotte’s heart as she hoisted the skirt of her amber-colored day dress above her ankles and began heading toward Worth Street. “Come on, Alice,” she whispered, cocking her head at her dumbstruck sister. A foul-smelling breeze teased strands of hair from their coifs, crept into their noses, and coated their throats. Charlotte had forgotten how the smell of poverty would stick to her skin. Swallowing her distaste, she vowed to scrub herself with sugar and lemon-infused olive oil as soon as she returned home.

Pressing a violet-scented handkerchief to her nose, Alice held her parasol low over her head, blocking out as much of the view as possible as she began walking. “Where are we going?” Her words were muffled, but her discomfort was not.

A disheveled drunk leered at the sisters from a rotting doorway, raising the hair on Charlotte’s neck. “The House of Industry. It’s just up ahead.”

With her parasol in one hand and a fistful of skirts in the other, Charlotte set a brisk pace. As they turned onto Worth Street’s littered sidewalk, Alice skirted a child leaning against a lamppost, hawking apples from a broken crate. Charlotte stopped short.

“Maggie?” She reached out and touched the girl’s soot-smudged cheek while Alice gawked from five feet away. “It’s me, Miss Waverly! I used to teach your mother sewing. How is she?”

Maggie peered up with eyes too big for her face, too old for her nine years. “About the same as usual—only there’s not enough sewing to go around, she says—so Jack sweeps the streets and here I am. Say, wouldn’t you and the miss over there like a nice red apple?”

“Of course!” Charlotte reached into her dress pocket and traded several coins for two small, bruised apples smelling of fermentation.

“Charlotte!” Alice gasped while Maggie’s dirty face brightened. It was far too much money to spend on apples—especially rotting ones.

“Go on now, Maggie. Give your mother my best.”

With “Bless you Miss!” ringing in her ears, Charlotte joined Alice with both apples in one hand, skirt now dragging on the sidewalk.

“Can we hustle, please?” Alice’s voice was still muted behind her handkerchief. Charlotte was eager to comply. Virtually every tipsy wooden building on this block—including Crown’s Grocery—housed a brothel, and none of them bothered hiding the fact. Bareheaded and bare-chested women stood in doorways quoting their rates to passersby, even in broad daylight—which was a dirty yellow, like a fevered complexion. By the time they stepped into the slanted shadow of the six-story House of Industry, Charlotte noticed she had been holding her breath. The vapors in this area could truly make one sick.

“Ah, there you are!” Mr. Lewis Pease, founder of the charity, had been waiting for them in the shade of the brick building, and now waved the sisters inside, away from the seedy, star-shaped intersection for which Five Points was named, half a block away. “And who is this lovely young woman?”

“Forgive me, this is my younger sister Alice—Mrs. Jacob Carlisle.” Charlotte and Alice entered the building ahead of Mr. Pease, who closed the door behind them. “She’s in town visiting for a spell while her husband is away on business.” She set the apples down on the hall stand and wiped her gloves on her skirt.

Pease bowed slightly. “A pleasure to meet you, madam. Mr. Dorsheimer is already here,” he added in a whisper just as the visitor’s barrel chest entered the room ahead of him. “Ah, Mr. Treasurer. Allow me to make the introductions. Miss Waverly, Mrs. Carlisle, this is Mr. Phillip Dorsheimer, Treasurer of the State of New York and the New York State Military Board. He’s here all the way from Buffalo, and we’re so fortunate he’s making time to meet with us.” Mr. Dorsheimer ignored Charlotte’s outstretched hand, fading both her smile and her confidence.

Mr. Pease continued. “Mr. Treasurer, Miss Waverly here was the one who suggested we make a bid for the contract. She used to be a sewing instructor here.”

Without even the slightest acknowledgment, Mr. Dorsheimer frowned at his pocket watch. “Can we get on with it?” His jowls quivered as he spoke. Charlotte took a deep breath and squeezed her parasol handle. So far, this was not going as she had hoped it would.

A thin smile tipped Mr. Pease’s lips. “Yes, quite. I’d like to give you a tour of the facility before discussing the terms of the uniform contract. Unless you’ve been here before?”

Mr. Dorsheimer cleared his throat. “Oh, I’ve been to the Points before, but not here in this building.” Of course. Well-to-do New Yorkers often came down to see Five Points for themselves to satisfy a macabre curiosity. “Well, allow us to show you around,” said Mr. Pease, leading the way. “This is a fairly new headquarters for us, and we’re rather proud of it. This corridor leads to the workshops where neighborhood teens and adults learn several trades. At first we taught only basic sewing, but now we also teach baking, shoemaking, corset making, basket weaving, and millinery. Go ahead, look around.”

Mr. Dorsheimer tossed cursory glances into a few of the workshops.

“We have more than five hundred workers currently. Five hundred!” Mr. Pease beamed. “I pay the workers according to what they produce. Sewers can earn up to $2.50 a week—now I know that doesn’t sound like much to you and me, Mr. Treasurer, but it’s a lot more than needlewomen normally earn. We’ve also opened a day school for the children so they are educated, fed, and even clothed while the parents work at their trades here.”

They walked a little farther and turned into a large open room. “This is the chapel where we hold religious services,” Mr. Pease continued. “Of course there is also the Five Points Mission just across the street, whose primary objective is to feed the souls and point them to new life in Christ. The House of Industry began as a branch of the Mission, because I found they had a hard time hearing the Bible when their stomachs were growling. And what better way to feed the multitudes than to teach them a trade so they can feed themselves?”

If Mr. Dorsheimer felt anything, he hid it well in those doughy folds of skin. The palms of Charlotte’s gloves began to dampen with sweat.

“One last thing I’d like to show you.” Climbing a set of stairs brought them to a well-ventilated floor with spacious dormitories, each with iron beds that termites couldn’t penetrate. “We started out housing our worker women, so they wouldn’t need to go back to the brothels at night. But now we also shelter dozens of abused, neglected, and homeless children who are waiting for adoptive parents.”

Mr. Dorsheimer, winded from the exertion of the climb, did not look impressed.

“These rooms are humble enough, indeed,” Charlotte added, “but when you consider many of these people are used to sleeping on the bare floor of a room with no windows and laid out like sardines in a can, you can understand the charm of a bed and some—air, can’t you?” Calling it “fresh air” would have been a lie. With human waste collecting in trenches behind most Five Points tenements, no air had been fresh here for decades. At least windows allowed circulation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nothing to Hide

Nothing to Hide
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
J. Mark Bertrand

Nothing To Hide