This book was utterly compelling. I started reading and did nothing else for the next few hours. If you are inspired by challenge and adventure, stimulated by people’s stories, amazed at how God in his grace transforms broken lives, and think that making a difference in our world is important, this book is for you.

Julia Immonen almost accidentally signed up to row more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in order to highlight the plight of the 27 million victims of modern-day slavery. She had never done anything like it before.

Row for Freedom contains two stories: the story of preparing, training and forming a team, and then of the gruelling row itself; alongside this is Immonen’s own story of surviving broken and violent relationships and the pain of her mother’s illness. These stories are well-written and powerfully integrated. The account is honest, even raw at times, and told with such vulnerability that as a reader you are soon drawn into the roller-coaster ride of her life and experience.

In his foreword, Bear Grylls writes: ‘I’ve met a lot of people who have chosen to live their adventures as big as they possibly can...all of them have made that same choice to jump into the unknown for the sake of something bigger...[Immonen] had no idea how tough it would get. But she was prepared to risk it all to make a difference.’

At the end of the book, the author suggests ways that readers can make a difference to the global evil of human trafficking because, as her story shows, ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference. LH

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