Robert Whitlow’s latest novel, “A Time to Stand,” could be a story ripped right off of today’s front pages — a story of racial division, reconciliation versus retaliation, and finding forgiveness and hope.
When Police Officer Luke Nelson, who happens to be white, shoots the seemingly unarmed teen Deshaun Hamlin, who is African American, racial divisions quickly pop up in their small town near Atlanta. And when hometown girl Adisa Johnson, who is also African American, returns to care for her sickly aunt and is then brought onto the police officer’s defense team, even more division rises.
While Luke must learn to trust that Adisa has his best interest at heart, Adisa must also overcome her predisposed assumption about his intentions in the unfortunate shooting.
What follows is an intense battle, not only on the legal front, but also on the spiritual, personal and emotional fronts.
The author does such a great job of moving this story along that the reader feels like he is right in the story himself. The reader will feel the tension the characters feel, as well as the hope and the defeat. It also encourages us to delve into our roots, as Adisa searches into her family’s history, all the way back to slaves and sharecroppers.
“A Time to Stand” moves beyond just an entertaining story and becomes a personal journey for the reader. Whitlow brings so much more than just good storytelling. He offers amazing life lessons with this novel, including reminding us to be strong and full in our faiths; how God intervenes in our lives and on our behalf; we can be confident in knowing who holds our future; we are the sons and daughters of the King; we all have a spiritual inheritance; and it reminds us of the promise found in Romans 8:28.
But more than spiritual lessons, he also reminds us of lessons we all need in today’s society to bridge the gap between our perceived differences. As Adisa learns, we must all work towards breaking down the barriers and that those barriers weaken through unity. With this story, Whitlow challenges us to be the change. If we all work toward being the change and being unified, we can be such a better world.
You will love these characters, from the strong and courageous Adisa and Luke, to the supportive pastor Reggie she meets, as well as Adisa’s plucky Great Aunt Josie who is recovering from a stroke.
Fans of authors like John Grisham and novels like “To Kill a Mockingbird” will enjoy “A Time to Stand.”
Five stars out of five.
Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.