Dare from Deep Within by D. L. Sleiman

Dare from Deep Within by D. L. Sleiman is the sequel to Dance from Deep Within which I read some time ago.

Dance from Deep Within is the story of three young women in the same college, who work together on a class project. The three women are quite different and come from different backgrounds: a white American girl who has been raised in a Christian home, a biracial young woman who has been raised by parents from the “hippy” generation who are free thinkers, and a Muslim woman whose parents have given her permission to attend college to earn an engineering degree, something way out of the norm for the Muslim culture.

Dance from Deep Within captured my attention from the first page and I was intrigued with the three young women. Their class project led them in a Dance with the Spirit and started them thinking and searching their hearts and minds. I enjoyed following their journey so much and by the end of the story, I felt like these three young women were friends of mine. I was disappointed when I found that not everything was completely wrapped up at the end of the book and that there was to be a sequel that wasn’t yet available.

So, when Dare from Deep Within became available in November, 2017, I couldn’t wait to get a copy! It took a while for me to get my copy and to have the time to read it, but I finished reading it last night. This book added two more young women and a few men to the original three women from the first book. One of the additional young women was the sister to the white American Christian girl from the first book and the other was a young Muslim woman, a close friend of the young Muslim woman from the first book. However, the situation for this new Muslim character was quite different from the first one and her friends were all concerned for her safety.

In Dare from Deep Within, all of the young women are still wrestling with their spiritual beliefs while still encouraging one another and building a strong bond of friendship between them. I did feel like this book had a slow start compared to the first one and I struggled to keep reading at first because it didn’t capture my interest as well. I also felt that  Ms. Sleiman had introduced one of the characters early in the book but kept her on the fringes until about the midway point. But when she introduced her, I really wanted to know more about her, so I was a bit frustrated that she wasn’t mentioned much more until later in the book.

However, once I reached the middle of the book, Ms. Sleiman didn’t disappoint me with the second half of the book. The danger one of the women was in reached beyond her and caused tension and suspense in the story. The internal struggles of many of the characters was something I believe anyone can relate to. Also, the struggle with choices that another character experienced was also completely relatable. These things kept me turning pages and cheering for these characters until the very end.

D. L. Sleiman obviously knows a lot about the Muslim culture and told this story in a gentle, caring way that helped me to understand the Muslim culture a little better. I always enjoy learning about other cultures and people groups. Learning about people different from ourselves is the only way to understand their lives and struggles and to be able to accept them for who they are. I wish more people would be willing to do this. I believe being open to learning about the differences in different cultures can build a bridge between us and lessen the “hate” that seems to flow too strongly and too frequently in today’s society.

I encourage anyone who has ever had a friend or relative from another culture or who would like to get to know someone from another culture to read this book. It clearly shows how difficult that can be, as well as how rewarding it can be. I know I said the book seemed to have a slow start, but it was well worth sticking with to the very end. Thank you, D. L. Sleiman for this two book set. I will treasure them and what they taught me for years to come.

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