Monday, May 4, 2015

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell

About the Book:

One woman’s fight to provide hope for the hopeless…Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God. 

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda’s journey from rags to riches to redemption. It’s the story of the first unlikely year of her “Whole Way House” and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her “Miss Brenda.” It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.

My Thoughts:

I'll admit it.  I was drawn to this book at first because of the amazing cover.  But then I was captured by the back cover copy.  When it comes to non-fiction, "Miss Brenda and the Loveladies" was right in my wheelhouse.

The IRS came barging in to Brenda's successful tax preparation business, waving around search warrants and tearing through files with no care for order or propriety.  Brenda's knees started knocking in fear of being sent to prison for something she didn't do.  And then God showed up in a mighty way, like He tends to do.

Instead of sending Brenda to prison, God escorted her there to get a personal view from the jail cell of a female inmate.  This sparked a ministry in her heart that would not be silenced, and her "Whole Way House" vision was born.

I loved her conversational style as Brenda told her story.  She includes the background with the investigation into her family business, bits and pieces about her family and her relationship with her husband Jeff.

But the stories that gripped me were stories about the "Whole Way House", and the stories that made me tear up and even cry were the real life stories from the women Brenda ministered to...and who ultimately ministered to her as well.

Why is it important for books like "Miss Brenda and the Loveladies"to get attention and to be read?  Because, I don't know about you, but as a Christian in the United States, I can get pretty hum-drum about my faith.  I can grow comfy-cozy and wonder if this is it until Eternity.

Then I get my hands on a full fledged miracle of a true story and it challenges me, stretches me, and changes the way I view life.  I have a greater appreciation for the plight of the incarcerated, and Miss Brenda Spahn has helped me remember these women are people, and they need the love of a Savior.

My thanks to my friends at Waterbrook/Multnomah for my complimentary copy through the "Blogging For Books" program in exchange for an honest review.  I highly recommend "Miss Brenda and the Loveladies", with a note of caution for some carefully *** language.

Oh, and if you're wondering why it's the Loveladies?  Well, you'll just have to read the book!

Happy Reading!



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