We are surrounded everyday by forces of good and evil. Sometimes our nation’s laws and leaders advance the former, other times unfortunately, the latter—just look at the result of Roe v. Wade, which has taken 55 million innocent lives in the last four decades and simultaneously unwoven the moral fabric of our society.
Although “The Tenth” by Joanne Moudy is fiction, fighting against this evil takes center stage in her gripping novel. As a paranormal thriller, the book weaves back and forth between our world and another, known as the ‘Realm of Holding.’ The main character Elizabeth, a trauma nurse, has already lost those she loved—her parents and husband, and in the process, her faith in God.
In the Realm of Holding, Joseph, the Sixth of the Nine, serves as a guide for lives moving from Earth toward Heaven, but he’s beginning to sense a great darkness every time the gateway between the two worlds opens. Though interfering in their world is forbidden, Joseph wants to understand the darkness. More importantly, however, he’s looking for a way to stop it and he believes Elizabeth can help.
All alone in a secluded cabin in the Pacific Northwest, work is all Elizabeth really has in her life. And in the Emergency Department, that means dealing with the aftermath of trauma in its most brutal forms—from assault and rape to botched abortions and car accidents. But as Joseph begins to make contact and disrupts her world, she is pushed toward love and God once again. She also comes to understand Joseph’s role in the other realm—he’s a guide for souls of unborn babies.
Our world is significantly changing, Joseph explains to Elizabeth. There are more passages, and many are now agonizingly painful. Eventually, Joseph understands the root of the darkness—one is coming who must not. And if the Tenth breaks through, it would mean the beginning of a great darkness. It’s up to Elizabeth to stop it.
Admittedly, I very rarely read fiction. And when I read the back cover of this book, it didn’t make all that much sense to me. Joseph—the Sixth of the Nine…huh? But 20 pages in, I was hooked. The first few chapters that took place in the Realm of Holding still had me scratching my head, but also made me curious to figure out what was going on. Fortunately, the chapters following Elizabeth in the Emergency Department at the outset of the book are riveting, and draw the reader in immediately. Moudy, who specialized in emergency nursing until retirement, knows how to set the scene perfectly and realistically, and as an incredibly gifted and imaginative writer, she made me feel like I was right there with Elizabeth working on saving her patients.
The more contact Joseph makes with Elizabeth the easier it is to understand the Realm of Holding and how all the relationships are interconnected. It also becomes abundantly clear that while fictional, Moudy is taking on some very big and timely issues in our society. Where exactly is our nation’s moral compass pointing these days – if at all? Our leaders are increasingly moving away from God, instead embracing a secular belief system that disregards the sanctity of life and quashes religious freedom. Our world is changing, and we are allowing it to happen. As Elizabeth must choose to stop the Tenth, so too must we choose which direction our country is heading.
Simply put, “The Tenth” is riveting, timely, and masterfully written. While captivated by a supernatural mystery and a whimsical romance, the reader is also forced to reflect on one of the most important political and social issues of our time.
Moudy’s goal in writing the book was to awaken minds that have stopped caring about abortion. “My motivation was all about what I could contribute to the issue of the unborn who have no voice—and that was it,” she tells Townhall. “I wrote this as a gift more than anything—a gift to life; a gift to God and humanity.”