Christian Book Previews Home
Christian Book Previews
Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
290 pages
May 2010
Edict House Publishing

The Girl Among Thorns

by Linda Settles

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Through powerful narrative description, Dr. Linda Settles profoundly captures the life of Chelsey Davenport in a memoir, The Girl Among Thorns: Why Did She Stay So Long? Chelsey Davenport's memories of an abusive childhood haunt readers, yet provide hope for other victims of abuse. Settles and Davenport believe that this story will increase awareness of abuse and inspire mistreated individuals to “break free from their bond” and start a new life.

The problems throughout the book arise from a deranged and volatile father, a detached mother, and a broken family, yet hope is found through simple characters who let their light shine into the Davenports' lives. Told from Chelsey's perspective, the progressive story of her life is captivating, and her thought processes and emotions are relatable to empathetic readers. The realistic narrative permits readers to see scenes of torment from Chelsey’s point of view and understand the meaning of anguish. Linda Settles, Ph.D., is also a survivor of abuse and today works as a counselor for abused women.

The book depicts multiple scenes of Chelsey and her family members being severely beaten and thrown around by the father, who also sexually assaults Chelsey. The content regarding sexual abuse is not graphic, but the resulting emotional struggle is heartbreaking. Settles uses Chelsey’s tragic life experiences to help readers grasp why victims stay in their bonds so long, and how sympathetic friends and relatives can help them break away.

I believe the book is well written and has a positive and hopeful ending. It strongly captures the characters' struggles while illustrating a central message that “[God] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” The fact that the story is nonfiction gives it a powerful impact, affecting readers' emotions and sparking their sympathy for victims who are tormented behind closed doors. It has several touching scenes in which Chelsey cries out for God's mercy, similar to King David's plea: “Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.” I recommend this book to adult women, particularly those who are victims of abuse. – Tara Gnagy,

Book Jacket:

This book will warm your heart with the humor and sage wisdom of Chelsey Ann Davenport. It will break your heart as well when you read about the things that Chelsey suffered. You will fall in love with O'dell and Mitch, Chelsey's younger brothers and little Willy, the baby of the family. You will laugh at Dora's antics and empahize with Suzanne as she grows up in the chaos of the Davenport home. The strength and resilience of Chelsey Ann Davenport will amaze you and maybe even help you understand why some children in Chelsey's circumstances grow older without growing up for a long, long, time.