AMERICAN FORK — A recent novel from Covenant Communications, inc. by Toni Sorenson Brown offers a look into how an estranged member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learns that Christ's love extends to her.

Written in first person with vivid imagery and passion, "Redemption Road" takes the reader into darkest Africa where the protagonist, Lana, not only finds the light of Christ within her but also discovers the healing power of love.

Not a religious novel, it nonetheless has religious undertones and romance woven in with pathos, violence and tragedy common on this dark continent.

Though tainted by sin, she learns about repentance and forgiveness as universal truths.

The story takes place in and around Nairobi, where Lana works in public relations for a hotel. Meanwhile, she has also taken up the cause of assisting a private school for poverty-stricken children on the other side of a village fraught with danger. While visiting the school, a native child, an orphan, steals her heart, then leaves her worried when he vanishes.

She is nearly killed in her search for him but finds new life and new love in the process.

Although Brown has never set foot in Africa, her daughter, Taylor Brown, has. When Taylor Brown graduated from high school, she followed the family tradition of going on a service mission as a graduation gift. Her service mission with Reach the Children was in Kenya. There she helped build a school for a woman named Grace, which is echoed in the novel.

"I took some of her experiences along with loads of research and the experiences of others, and built this story. The intent is to help fund the completion of Grace's school," Toni Brown said. "Two years ago I started a very small foundation aimed at helping children learn the value of service by helping other children. We made quilts for Katrina victims. We have helped supply orphanages with toys and medical equipment. We have sent clothing where it is needed.

"The foundation is called 'All His Children,' and we are now organizing a leadership conference for children, teaching them skills to recognize the needs of others and how to meet them."

"I might be white, but a part of me sure feels like I'm a black African woman. I have always loved Africa and her people. I've read everything I could find, watched every movie made on the continent. I love the music. We celebrate Kwanzaa every year, and two of my four sons are black."

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