“Then He said to her (the harlot),’Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.'”
Annabelle Grayson McCutchens had once lived a degrading life in Willow Springs at the local brothel. Having been rescued from that life by a man who loved her, she has found salvation in Jesus and a new faith now surges in her life. However, Jonathan McCutchens is dying, and Annabelle feels guilt weighing on her that this wonderful man loved her so, but she could never love him the same way.
Revealed, by Tamera Alexander, reminded me somewhat of Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. It was the story of a woman, fallen so low, being raised up by faith and love in Jesus Christ.
Annabelle McCutchens travels back to Willow Springs after her husband, Jonathan, dies while they were on their way to Idaho to settle on the ranch he’d bought there. Knowing that she can’t stay in Willow Springs because of her tainted reputation there, she decides to advertise for a guide to lead her to Idaho. It seems the only way for her to catch up with the wagon train they had joined and to start over. Where no one will know her. She and the baby she now carries, can have a new and fresh life. She also goes searching for her young friend, Sadie, a girl who worked in the brothel for four years…she’s only fifteen years old. But Sadie has disappeared, and Annabelle is determined to find the child on her way to Idaho.
She just never imagined that the man who hates her most would answer the advertisement.
Matthew Taylor is on the run and needs money…fast. When he sees that advertisement for a guide to Idaho, he knows that this is his best bet. He just never imagined that the woman in the advertisement was his brother’s widow! The news of Jonathan’s death hits him hard…but it doesn’t change his opinion of Annabelle Grayson. In fact, it makes his opinion of her worse. Having experienced his mother dying of a failing heart, and hearing that his brother died the same way, Matthew blames it on Annabelle. He’s always believed that his father was responsible for his mother’s death. That man broke Laura Taylor’s heart. Annabelle Grayson probably weighed on Jonathan’s heart in the same way.
Matthew regrets words last spoken to his brother, but he doesn’t regret what he had to say about his brother’s wife. Annabelle only married Jonathan for money and to get out of the brothel. That’s as simple as it is. Now she’s heading off to the ranch that should’ve belonged to Jonathan and him! Now she’s claiming something that’s rightfully his since Jonathan’s death!
And he doesn’t believe the child–if there is a child–is Jonathan’s either. Why should he? With a woman like Annabelle Grayson, anything was possible. Why should he believe Kathryn Jennings and the pastor’s wife, Hannah Carlson, when they say that Annabelle is a new creation in Christ? Why should he believe she’s changed? He sees that she’s fooled them all. But not him, never him.
Annabelle well knows Matthew’s opinion of her. She overheard the last fight he’d had with Jonathan before storming out and never seeing his brother again. She doesn’t try to change his opinion of her, she knows it won’t do any good. Everything he says she is she was. But he doesn’t see it that way. He doesn’t see it as something that was in the past. She’s surprised when, after the shock of finding out that she’s the widow and Jonathan was dead, he returns still wanting the job.
The journey to Idaho is strained…at first. Especially when Annabelle sneaks into towns at night to visit local brothels and gaming houses. Matthew follows her into town and now is positive that she hasn’t given up her old life. However, he still has no proof. Well, he’ll right that. Next time he’s going to make sure. He’s going to prove that he was right. He’s going to make everyone see that Annabelle Grayson never changed.
So why doesn’t the thought of proving her a liar satisfy him the way he thought it would?
Annabelle has been visiting those places in the hopes of finding Sadie. However, when she enters one of the saloons and is brutally carried into a back room by the large bartender, fear grips her. Maybe Kathryn and Hannah had been right. Maybe she should’ve confided in Matthew and brought him with her. However, when they get there and, after she gives up the fight, she discovers that he’s not trying to take advantage of her at all. He was protecting her from the owners, who don’t like people coming in asking questions.
Needing to make it look like something went on so the owners won’t be suspicious, he smears blood on Annabelle’s face and she unbuttons her blouse, making herself look disheveled and used. But then a poster on the wall catches her eye…and she’s shocked by what she sees. She just tears it down when the door bursts open…and she turns to see Matthew standing there.
Catching her in the act hadn’t been at all satisfying for Matthew. In fact, he realizes now that he had hoped he was wrong about Annabelle. But now he’s sure. However, being sure doesn’t last long when the bartender fights him in front of a crowd and then pins him to a wall and explains everything.
Now that that rift is put aside, Matthew realizes that Annabelle’s intentions, coming into town, had been completely different from what he thought. However, he’s still not sure if he can fully trust her yet….
It only took me a day to read Revealed and it was so worth it! This book drew a picture of letting go of the past and forgiving. Matthew’s journey of forgiving Annabelle and realizing that, if given the choice, she never would’ve chosen prostitution, was amazing. The transformation seemed to take place in a single moment, because, despite his horrible feelings towards her at first, Matthew sees a truth. He sees Annabelle McCutchens as Jonathan had seen her and realizes now how his brother fell in love with the woman.
Annabelle’s journey was a difficult one. Falling in love with Matthew is one thing, but all that time knowing how he hated her was another. The two feelings warring inside her was difficult. She loved him even before she knew she loved him. There was always this connection between them. Matthew hadn’t looked at her the way other men had and that had made her uncomfortable. His dirty looks had done nothing to let her forget the past, and that was the whole reason why she’d wanted to leave Willow Springs.
Not only that, but Annabelle is desperately worried about Sadie. Where could the child be? What was happening to her? And who took her from Willow Springs in the first place?
If you want to know the answers to all these questions, then you’ll just have to read Revealed for yourself!
Coming Soon: Death runs rampant in the west…the Indians ride out to meet Custer…and their children are about to be forced into a new and strange life. Look for my review of Into the West Part 5: Casualties of War, soon!!