(Tyndale House, 2000, 375pp, S24.95. Available from AD Books)
With so much pressure in today's society, young people in particular are faced with a wide array of moral decisions. They can find themselves in situations in which they need to know the right thing to do.
All too often, however, decisions seemingly representing an 'easy' way out can impact on others in adverse ways.
The Atonement Child draws the reader into the life of a young woman, Dynah, whose faith plays an important role in her life. One day she is violated against her will and in time faced with the terrifying reality that she is pregnant. Faced with such a dilemma in her life, she has to decide whether to keep the child within her, or have an abortion.
Advice is plentiful - from the boyfriend, parents (with their own personal problems), her friends, her own - and in all this, she tries to hear the voice of God, amid the chaos.
The reader is taken on a roller-coaster journey with Dynah, as she is confronted with many issues, sharing the moments with her, her joy, her laughter, her frustration, the tears and her decision. "She is only a child herself" - yet see, the miraculous hand of God work, not only in her life, but in the lives of those she loves around her.
Mary-Jane Donnellan is a Melbourne Catholic writer.