New Hope Publishers
In her novel, Red Ink, Kathi Macias tells the gripping tale of one woman’s incredible courage and faith. Although Yang Zhen Li is simply the wife of a poor farmer, she finds herself in extraordinary circumstances when she is called to stand up for her faith amidst intense persecution. While Zhen Li is tortured in China, an elderly woman in the United States feels burdened to pray for her. The reader’s heart is torn by the oppression Zhen Li endures; however, the healing power of prayer shines through as a visible beacon of hope. This story, based loosely on the life of magazine editor, Li Ying, gives readers a tangible grasp on the reality of religious persecution and the amazing power of persistent prayer.
Macias does a wonderful job of weaving together several different stories to make an impacting narrative. Each chapter starts with another point of view, which allows the reader to gain intimate glimpses of different characters’ thoughts and motivations. This book realistically captures the pain of the situations encountered. It is very descriptive and intense in parts, but these passages enhance the central purpose of the book. The climax of the novel occurs during Zhen Li’s stay in prison. She is faced with the option to surrender her principles for an easier time in jail or to have her rights ripped from her with a brutality that may claim her life.
Across the globe from China, Macias tells the story of a wayward young lady who finds herself sucked into an ever deadening cycle of drugs and sex. She is so far lost in this cycle of substance abuse that she is almost pulled under. Fortunately, the prayers of two elderly ladies help to draw her to the saving love of Jesus even as they plead for the safety of another young woman around the world. Zhen Li is ostracized from her family and friends when she marries a Christian and adopts her husband’s faith. Her relationship with Zhu Yesu (Jesus Christ) eventually lands her a spot in prison. Her faith, however, does not seem to waver in this trying time. Finally, she is faced with the ultimate test of her faith. Will she reject her Savior when she is tested with the prospects of sexual slavery and even death? Is Jesus worth her very life? Yang Zhen Li has to make that decision.
Zhen Li is incredibly brave. She is a challenge to any Christian who reads Red Ink. She demonstrates the strong model of faith that Christians are called to live out. She is inspiring and realistic. Her struggles are intense, but the principles shown are relatable. Likewise, the supporting characters in the novel furthered the purpose of the book. They gave eyes and ears to the pain in a way that the main character never could.
Overall, Red Ink is a fantastic book. The plot is fascinating because it causes the reader to evaluate what his or her response would be to a very grim but realistic situation. The novel is a bit graphic and may be a little too intense for younger audiences, but it would be great for young adults. There would be a great take away for readers in the upper levels of high school, as well as for those are in college. Red Ink by Kathi Macias is definitely a good and worthwhile reading experience. – Anna Soden, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
A young Chinese woman, Zhen-Li—raised to observe the party line, including its one-child-per-family doctrine—falls in love with and marries a Christian, and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted.
It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name—”Truth”—and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu (“Lord Jesus”) and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets.
Based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, the story of Yang Zhen-Li tells the desperate tale of her incarceration and separation from her family, as she continues to minister to other prisoners, and even to her guards.