Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog Tour: The Love of Divena by Kay Marshall Strom (Guest Post & Giveaway)

Face to Face With Slavery

By Kay Marshall Strom

My latest book, The Love of Divena, is fiction set in fact. 

On my first trip to India, I met a couple I’ll call Ajit and Jaya. Both came from the lowest rung of India’s social ladder—Dalits. Outcastes formerly known as Untouchable. Both had spent their entire lives working in a local landlord’s fields.

Ajit’s family belonged to the landowner because many years earlier, in a time of desperation, his grandfather borrowed a few rupees from the landowner’s grandfather, agreeing to work off the debt. The landowner’s grandfather credited Ajit’s family for their work, but he charged an outrageous amount to rent a small hut and buy a few handfuls of rice. Because only landlords could read and write, they made certain that for each generation, the family’s indebtedness grew and grew until it could never be paid off. Ajit was doomed from birth to spend his life working in the landlord’s fields. From dawn to sundown every day, under the blistering sun or in monsoon floods. 

Both Ajit and Jaya were bonded laborers, entrapped in the most widespread form of slavery today. In India alone, 10 million people are enslaved for generations in the same way. 

Jaya was thirteen years old when her father married her to Ajit. Every day she got up long before the sun, built a fire and cooked rice, then headed to the fields at dawn. She knew no other life. And whenever the landlord looked upon her with pleasure and told her to stay behind while the others went to the fields, she screamed inside, but she always stayed. She had no choice. He owned her. 

But one day Ajit stepped between his wife and the landlord. “No, she will not stay behind with you,” he said. The landlord had Ajit beaten, but Ajit would not back down. The landlord refused them rice, but Ajit and Jaya said they would rather starve. When they managed to sneak away in the middle of the night, the furious landowner sent his thags to hunt them down and drag them back. 

But God’s hand was on Ajit and Jaya. They stumbled into a village of freed bonded laborers who hid them. The landlord expected his men to beat a sobbing woman and her cowering husband into submission. Instead, his thags were met by more than 100 freed slaves armed with clubs and knives. 

“A village of people like us?” Ajit asked in disbelief. “How can you survive?” 

“We got a micro-loan to start a dairy,” one woman explained. “We all have jobs to do.”

The village women had done so well with the dairy that they started their own bank so that they could lend money to others who wanted to start businesses. Like Ajit and Jaya. Today the couple sells vegetables they grow on their own small plot of land. And they are fast paying back their loan.

“We are not slaves anymore,” Jaya told me. “And we never will be again!” 

Actually, The Love of Divena is fact. It’s just framed in fiction.

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of forty published books. Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word.

Her latest book is the Christian historical fiction, The Love of Divena.

To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at
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In this final book of the Blessings in India trilogy, Divena struggles against an entire culture to proclaim a faith close to her heart while rocking the world of two families.

India 1990. In the final book of the Blessings of India series, Shridula, old and stooped at fifty-nine, makes her painful way to pay homage to the elephant god Ganesh, lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. “Why are we Hindus instead of Christians?” her seventeen-year-old granddaughter Divena asked.
“Because we are Indian,” said Shridula.

So begins a spiritual journey for Divena as she struggles against an entire culture to proclaim a faith close to her heart while rocking the world of two families.


To be entered to win a print copy of The Love of Divena, complete the mandatory entry in the Rafflecopter form below. After you complete the mandatory entry, more will be unlocked and you may complete which ever of those you would like. Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only and ends October 14, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Good luck!

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  1. Good morning, Kay. i am intrigued by your novel. i am an armchair traveler, and a readaholic. i would love to win your novel and review it! Thank you for the great opportunity

    1. Ooooo, Marianne, I love armchair travelers! Keep traveling with me.

  2. I would love to read this book

  3. Wow that was an amazing story! You don't think about things like that still happening today. I'd love to read this novel and see how Divena's story turns out!

    1. That's what I love about historical fiction, Liz. While you're read the story, you are becoming a quasi expert on something you never knew about.

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  5. I have the first two books in this series, would love to own the whole series. I haven't had the chance to read them yet, but they looked good enough to buy! :) I am even more interested in your "Forgotten Girls"... my heart is yearning to DO SOMETHING for those girls... God is obviously moving, on Christians and on our nation in general ( I have seen an article in a secular mag about it and a segment on tv about a documentary that is coming out soon) and on my heart as well. Thank you for writing books that bring attention to such things that Christians NEED to take a stand against!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Ladette. I feel strongly that it does no good to inform people if we don't also give a way to help. Otherwise, it just adds to our guilt and frustration, and none of us needs more of that. "Forgotten Girls" does give action points. And so many have written to say they are finally able to take that stand.

  6. We have a friend who has been to India many times of missions trips. Your book sounds very interesting and eye opening about real life situations and how faith in Christ comes at a great price in different cultures. Would love to read this book.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  7. Wow, this looks fantastic! Even if I don't win I will probably buy it!

  8. love Kay's books would love to be entered for her book thanks

  9. This sounds like an amazing book. I have never read a Kay book, but would love to start with this one.