Frustrated by pressure she feels from her former boyfriend and confused about her future direction, Cori jumps at the chance to participate in a missions trip to Indonesia.
Boot camp introduces Cori to her team mates, Kyle, Elissa, Mark, Brendan and Drew and leaves her exhausted and blistered and yet unprepared for the horrifying reality the team faces when a conflict between Muslim and Christian villagers destroys the newly constructed church and decimates the village.
Led by young villager Mani, grieving the slaughter of his parents, the team escapes into the treacherous Indonesian jungle with fear, anxiety and despair lacerating their faith in each other and God.
To say I was blown away by the intensity and power of Lisa McKay’s debut novel is an understatement! Cori’s voice is clear and emotive and her internal struggles throughout the entirety of the book bespoke a genuineness of character rarely found. Lisa beautifully described the village and drew me in to the looming tragedy with stunning prose. I experienced the heart pounding fear and desperation of her characters to such an extent that I had to put the book down to give my heart a rest! It was only for a minute however as the fate of the village and the team held me captive.
While most of the characters are in their late teens this book’s appeal extends far beyond readers of the same age. Lisa has drawn characters with exceptional depth and accuracy and handles issues of God’s sovereignty in the midst of human tragedy without trite or pat answers. The authority and realism Lisa’s career of providing psychological and spiritual support to aid workers, gives authority and realism to a story that is second to none. Cori’s journey, through emotional and physical turmoil is not to be missed.
I have no hesitation in stating that my hands came away red is the finest book I have read this year and I hope it is the first of many from this Australian author.
my hands came away red is available now from Moody Publishers and can be pre-ordered at Koorong.
This review will be published in the November issue of the new Australian Baptist Women’s Living Life magazine!