Life in Defiance, released May 2010, is the third book in the Defiance Texas Trilogy by Mary DeMuth. The town of Defiance Texas has yet to discover the killer of one of their own, a young girl named Daisy Chance.
Ouisie Pepper is the mother of the girl’s best friend, Jed. She’s also the wife of the local pastor, Hap Pepper, and she has a number of secrets locked away inside her. These secrets threaten to ruin her if her husband doesn’t kill her first with his raging temper. Ouisie believes she can change him by becoming a better person herself. But change doesn’t come easily.
Throughout her journey, Ouisie struggles between exposing the truth, including the killer’s identity, and guarding her secrets to protect the guilty and the life she’s always known. She befriends Daisy’s mother, Emory, who’s grieving, but growing in her new found faith. Emory encourages Ouisie to get away from Hap for her own safety and that of her children, but she doesn’t want to believe it’s as bad as it really is.
Ouisie lies to herself most of all. She can’t see that most of the town already knows some of her secrets. And she doesn’t understand how the truth will, as the Bible says, set her free.
With the help of her friends and her faith in God, Ouisie is finally able to face the truth, speak it out and embark on a new life.
DeMuth weaves a powerful illustration in Life in Defiance to portray the biblical principle that the Truth will set you free. Ouisie’s story is one of abuse both physical and emotional. It is an authentic look into the mind of someone who’s been abused—a peek into the reasoning of an abuse victim. And it is a revelation of how a person can rely on loving, Christian friends to help them gain a right perspective.
Ouisie’s story is gripping and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next and who Daisy’s killer is. DeMuth’s writing is smooth, beautifully descriptive one moment and shockingly real the next. She portrays her characters well—the abuser, the abused and those who love them.
Most of us never have to suffer the things DeMuth’s characters suffer in the Defiance Texas Trilogy. For that we are grateful, but the lessons her characters learn are lessons we can each take to heart no matter what circumstances we face.
*Note: I received a complementary copy of Life in Defiance for the purpose of review.