Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell

I must be honest; my initial interest in the book was the part of the title that said, “Loveladies”, because “Lovelady” was my maiden name. That confession aside, when I began to read the book I was fascinated and awed by Ms. Brenda’s work.
A childhood of want and poverty spurred her on in her adult life to be rich and achieve success. She did just that by building several very prosperous tax preparation offices. Wrongly accused of preparing false tax returns, her wealthy carefree life style faced serious problems, possible jail time. She chose to plead guilty in hopes a avoiding a prison sentence for her and her pregnant daughter, and stop the attorney’s fees draining their bank account. During this time her eyes were opened. She realized her material wealth had not made her happy. She reached out to God for the first time in years and asked Him what He would have her do. His answer was to minister to the women she almost joined those in prison.
With her feisty personality and never give up attitude, she literally threw herself into this new calling. She purchased a beautiful expensive home, furnished it lavishly, and hired a house mother, cook, and driver. This would be her new Whole Way house for women fresh out of prison and on parole. A place that would help women to build a new life and avoid being incarcerated as the vast majority does. She planned to finance it and regularly visit to make sure things were going well. When the 7 women arrived Brenda was shocked. She had been sent the hopeless cases considered unable to be rehabilitated. All together they had spent 100 years behind bars for every crime imaginable, even murder. They were dangerous and hardened. Upon arrival her entire staff quit and she was left alone. That didn’t keep Brenda from continuing to pursue the ministry God had laid on her heart.
Through patience, perseverance, and genuine love, she began to break through the years of hurt, disappointment, and horrific pasts. They became a family and Brenda helped them see they had value and hope for a normal life. She became a mother to them, teaching them how cook, shop, interact with others in the community, personal hygiene and how to dress. She stood up for them against prejudice and never came up a single one.
This book was humorous, heartbreaking and a real eye opener to the challenges and struggles repeatedly incarcerated women face each time they are released from prison. They are caught in a vicious circle that began in their childhood. Brenda Spahn’s enormous faith and determination to follow God’s direction is nothing short of awe inspiring. Ms. Brenda’s ministry has now grown into the Lovelady Center. It is “the largest most successful nonprofit transitional center” in the U.S. Its foundation is still God and His Word. A remarkable, a remarkable book, and one you definitely want to read!
I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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