A few readers wrote with some concern that this book was more “explicit” than my others and they wondered why I had Abra in relationships with three men. I knew that question would come up, what surprised me is the discomfort seemed to be focused on the love scene between Abra and Joshua as a married couple rather than her experiences with Dylan and Franklin Moss.
First of all, I was careful to craft the scenes in a way to evocative, and not explicit. There is definitely a difference between the two. The first takes more work and is aimed at drawing the reader into the emotion of the scene. The second describes everything. It’s harder to write an evocative scene than an explicit one.
Now for the reasons Abra was with three men:
Over the past few years, I have done a lot of reading on sex trafficking, how predators attract victims and how it impacts the lives of the women they enslave. During the 50s, people didn’t talk about these issues. I’m sure sex trafficking went on, but not on the scale it does now. Never the less, the dynamics have always been there and Dylan plays them out in the way he seduces Abra. Dylan sees her vulnerability and uses it. He tells her what she wants to hear. He makes her feel wanted and loved. Once he has her in his complete control, he reveals himself as an abuser. He enjoys his control over her. He likes inflicting pain, both physical and emotional. He does what he wants when he wants and she feels powerless to escape.
Franklin Moss is a user. Like many today, he lives in his own mental pornographic film and molds Abra to play the part he fantasizes. She allows it because she is desperate to become someone important, someone people will admire and love. The more she sacrifices herself to become Lena Scott (a movie star), the more Franklin Moss “loves” her. And the more he loves her, the more trapped and unclean Abra feels. The more she gives him, the stronger his obsession becomes. He will never have enough of her. He senses her inner struggle and holds on tighter until she’s desperate to get away from him. When her opportunity comes, she leaves a message that is his undoing, and then has to live with the consequences.
Joshua loves Abra in a godly way. His love is patient and kind. He is faithful. He is never arrogant and he doesn’t seek his own pleasure at the expense of another. He grieves over Abra’s mistakes, but offers her grace. He bears her burdens with her and knows God will not fail them. He remains a virgin because he knows sex is intended to be within the confines of marriage. Even when she tempts him, he stands firm because he loves deeply and values her and sees her as precious in God’s sight. A godly man safeguards the one he loves. When they do come together as man and wife, Joshua focuses on healing her wounds and giving her the pleasure God intended.
Right now, our culture romanticizes “bad boys” and abusers like Dylan, and powerful men like Franklin Moss who want what they want in the way they want it, and expect a woman to bend to those desires. Love isn’t subjugation. Love is submission to one another for the benefit of both. Joshua offers Abra the love she longs to experience, the love she needs. I wanted readers to see the difference between what the world says love is and how God intends it to be.