Cathy Gohlke was horrified to discover that
there are twice as many men, women and
children enslaved today than at the height
of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

This realization gave birth to her latest
novel, Band of Sisters (Tyndale House). “This
book was born of a passion to end modern-day
slavery,” she explains, “and most of all, to ask,
‘What can I do to help in a need so desperate?’”

In 1910, Maureen O’Reilly and her younger
sister flee a shameful past and perilous future
in Ireland. Alone, impoverished, and in danger
of deportation, Maureen finds employment in a
prominent Manhattan department store, only to
discover a secret that threatens every vulnerable
woman in the city.

Cathy explains why she wrote a historical
novel to highlight a modern-day tragedy:
“Historical fiction provides a non-threatening,
safe distance for readers to gain perspective on
difficult issues. When it’s the story of someone
long ago and faraway who dealt with a similar
issue, we’re able to consider the situation and
the ramifications of their actions less emotionally.
That objectivity fosters new viewpoints for
current situations. By considering tactics that
did or didn’t succeed in the past, we can better
view a pathway to the future.”

Cathy’s heartfelt prayer is that her book raises
awareness of human trafficking—and that the
actions of the characters provide a springboard
for readers to consider ways they, too, can fight
this injustice.

“None of us can solve the problem, but we
can each do something to help,” Cathy says. “By
working together, we can raise a symphony
demanding abolition and forge paths for a
brighter, stronger future.”

There’s a multitude of actions people can take
to bring about change—write to a politician,
fundraise, mentor an at-risk person, speak up
against injustice, shop wisely, and pray continually.
“Most importantly,” says Cathy, “realize that
while you can’t do everything, we can each do
something.”

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!

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About The Author

Cathy Gohlke, a two-time Christy Award-winning author, has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children's and education ministries. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, make their home on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland.